Successful year capped with 2023 Tournament of Roses Parade selection

The Rosemount High School marching band had a very eventful 2021, which went a long way toward making up for the lost 2020 competition season.

The band won the Youth in Music state championship, placed in the top 10 of the Bands of America Super Regional Competition, advanced to its first Bands of America Grand Nationals Championships where it was a semifinalist, and capped it with announcement of its selection to perform in the 2023 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

The Rose Bowl announcement was made during the band’s annual banquet on Nov. 22, which generated plenty of excitement for the 250-member crew.

Rosemount is the first high school to be selected to perform for a second time at the parade that’s typically has a television viewing audience of 47 million in the U.S. and more than 300 million in over 220 countries worldwide.

The Marching Irish also made the cut in a more rigorous selection process than usual.

Because the international bands who were selected for 2022 were carried over to 2023 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, there were fewer spots available for high school bands.

Out of the 300 bands that applied to perform, only four high school bands were accepted. When Rosemount was selected for the 2014 parade, it was among 16 high school bands selected from among 50 applicants.

“That was pretty spectacular to us,” Sieve said.

He said having performed previously at the Tournament of Roses and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade played to Rosemount’s benefit.

During the band’s annual banquet held at the RiverCenter in St. Paul this year, the announcement came after a video was shown recapping the year, highlighting the contributions of the outgoing seniors.

Each band member had a small present to unwrap and when they were given the go ahead, they found a Rosemount High School/2023 Tournament of Roses Parade T-shirt tucked inside.

“When they started to realize what it meant throughout the banquet hall, it was pretty exciting,” Sieve said.

The excitement also came with the recognition that this year’s current seniors will be unable to go.

“They were the ones who got us to the Rose Bowl parade,” Sieve said. “We spent a lot of time commenting on the talent and leadership of the senior class. They have been great motivators and leaders.”

In another interesting twist, Rosemount’s May 2021 application did not include video from this year’s season, but that from the 2019 season since the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. That means the band members who will be going to the 2023 parade have to thank the members of both the 2022 and the 2021 graduating classes for their chance to perform.

Rosemount is already well into preparations for its Jan. 2, 2023, performance.

The band directors traveled to Pasadena for this year’s Tournament of Roses parade to review logistics, the parade route, Band Fest location, and hotel options. Sieve is Rosemount’s only director who was leading the band as well in 2014.

Fundraising will be a major component of the preparations. The band will be raising money in an effort to spread out the costs among its members so cost is not a barrier for attending.

2021 season

The band vied in a competition for the first time in two years on Sept. 11 when it placed first at the Eastview High School Marching Band Festival.

“It feels good to be back doing what we love to do – making music and performing,” said RHS Band director Leon Sieve at the time. “The kids are excited to be working together again.”

The band won on Oct. 9 the Youth in Music title for the 14th time since the competition began in 2005. In addition to being crowned the 2021 Minnesota state champions, Rosemount was named the Class 4A overall champion and the 2021 grand champions after two performances of their show, “Out of the Shadows.”

Rosemount director Leon Sieve was also inducted into the YIM Hall of Fame – an honor bestowed to individuals who have dedicated their careers to band, excellence, achievement and leadership in the marching arts. Sieve has been a director at Rosemount since 2002.

The placed in the top 10 in the BOA Super Regional Competition in St. Louis, Missouri, on Oct. 22 and 23. The band placed third in Class AAA after preliminary competition, and eighth place overall in finals.

The band wrapped up its 2021 season Nov. 11-13 during its first trip to the BOA 2021 Grand Nationals Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.

After preliminary competition, Rosemount was named as one of 34 semifinalists – the first time a band from Minnesota has achieved this honor. In the semifinals, Rosemount was ranked 24th overall and fifth place in Class AAA.

“It is simply hard to put into words the feelings of pride, accomplishment, and gratitude that we as directors have for what we just experienced,” Sieve said. “Putting a marching band together after a season off and training a band with half of its members being new was no small task, but collectively we did it together. Personally, I’ve never felt prouder.”

Tad Johnson can be reached at

Tad Johnson is a managing editor of Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune 

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