Rose Parade’s “Kings of Halftime” ready for Pasadena

Rose Parade’s “Kings of Halftime” ready for Pasadena
ML Kings of Halftime

The marching band at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Atlanta, Georgia are known as “The Kings of Halftime.”

They are the “Kings of Halftime.”

And, Travis Kimber, Director of Bands at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in tiny Lithonia, Georgia, knew he’d take them to the the Rose Parade some day.

“The Rose Parade is the granddaddy of them all,” Kimber said. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to have my band perform in this parade.”

Known as the “Kings of Halftime,” Martin Luther King, Jr. High School’s marching band will be one of the 19 bands to play at the Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 2.

It won’t be their first time playing a high-profile event. The Kings played in NFL halftimes before, including the season opener for the Atlanta Falcons. They even went international 10 years ago, playing in the 2006 Field Band Foundation’s South African National Championships.

But the Rose Parade is no ordinary performance, and the Kings had to beat out more than 200 other applicants for a spot. Kimber first submitted his band’s resume in May 2015, along with a video showcasing their skills. The Tournament’s Music Committee responded with an official invitation in September of that year. Kimber was pleased, but not surprised.

“The thing that sets us apart is our performance style,” Kimber said. “It’s high energy. We have a flair for excitement.” Although the details of the performance are still under wraps, Kimber said that the Kings will play both classic marching tunes and modern favorites for an audience that numbers in the millions.

But with less than a month to go before the Rose Parade, there’s still more work to be done. The Kings’ rehearsal schedule has them running two miles daily and improving their marching condition. And although most of the $480,000 needed to get the band to Pasadena has been raised, funding is still needed for instrument transportation. Last-minute funds are being collected on the Kings of Halftime website.

But Kimber believes that no price is too high to pay if he teaches his kids one important lesson.

“I want them to get from this experience that dreams do come true with hard work and perseverance,” Kimber said.

— By Hugo Guzman, correspondent