Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do You Know a Rose Parade Float Sponsor?

Apparently it may require a small miracle to find a sponsor and a float for the Rose Parade...
Since no one can release the names of the sponsors and divulge what kinds of floats are being built, the only thing left to do is to try and contact all the sponsors individually. This means contacting anyone entering a float in the next parade. It might be helpful to know someone inside the organization, so I thought I would put together a list and see if anyone out there knows someone at any of these businesses, before I start "cold calling."
These are businesses and organizations that sponsored a float that won a prize in last year's parade:
Rain Bird Corp.
Sierra Madre Rose Float Assoc. (the city of Sierra Madre)
City of Cerritos
NAMM-- the International Music Products Assoc.
Vera Bradley
Donate Life
City of Huntington Beach
American Honda
Anchorage CVB
City of Roseville
New Mexico USA
City of Mission Viejo
La Canada Flintridge (Tournament of Roses Assoc.)
Bayer Advanced
Downey Rose Flat
China Airlines
Kiwanis Int'l
National Assoc. of Realtors
Kaiser Permanente
City of Glendale
Farmers Insurance
Jack in the Box
Western Asset

I'll start by trying to contact the cities first. Let you know how it goes...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hoping to be in the Rose Parade

Ok. Well I started back in the first quarter of this year, and now we are coming up to the fourth quarter. No real progress yet. I had contacted (written and phoned) the Tournament of Roses Association, all the float builders, a PR person, Larry Palmer, for one of the float builders, and the City of West Covina... but nothing very promising yet.
I tried to find out who is building a patriotic float but no one will release that information, since it needs to be a surprise. That makes it kind of tough. Also, everyone says that only the sponsors of each float make the call as to who rides on their float, and of course, everyone wants to.
I noticed that the President of the 2010 Tournament is Gary J. DiSano. In looking at the press releases, it states that he also works for Century Wheel and Rim in Montebello. I tried to call him there. Got a voice mail after using the automated directory, but not real sure that I was leaving a voice mail for him. The message didn't say it was his voice mail.
It appears that there are a LOT of Italian guys in management roles for the parade. At least a lot of the names are Italian. Do we have any Italian friends out there that can help??? We have sung for many Italian groups; maybe they know someone.
I guess I could look at a list of all of last year's sponsors and contact each one to see if they have an entry this year. I think most sponsors do it annually, year after year.
If you read this and know of anyone who could help, or have other ideas for us, please let me know!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Realizing our dreams of DC, Hawaii and Pasadena???

It started off innocently enough... get some ladies together to sing at the VA Hospital for Christmas. My son was a Marine in Afghanistan, and it seemed like a better thing to do than worry and cry. Five other "Blue Star Moms" joined me that holiday season-- 7 years ago. From that one performance, with music from a boombox, "The Singing Blue Star Moms" was born.

We sang for donations to the Blue Star Mom organization for several years. Learning tunes from the WWII era and though the 60's, we entertained numerous veterans organizations and senior groups. But difficulties and varying agendas within our East Bay Chapter soon had our little singing group longing to be independent. Since our sons and daughters had returned from war, we struck out on our own-- but soon were "courted" by the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Since we didn't want to start a business, this relationship with a famous WWII icon seemed like a good fit. Additionally, we continued to bring in new singers and lose some over time. We wanted to keep the group small (fewer than 8) so that it would be manageable. We started getting pickier about who could join us. Now they have to have talent and be able to sing. In the beginning, it didn't matter. Now they have to be able to "move" as well as sing-- and they must fit into our uniform. Now, we sing all of our own harmonies and use karaoke or other instrumental tracks; we no longer sing over another artist's voice-- which was how we started out.

Though the "growth process" has had its pains, we are at a fantastic place. No divas, everyone trying really hard to improve all the time-- and still maintain a sense of fun. It's great to add new songs and challenge ourselves to learn more than one part, so we can be somewhat "interchangeable." The amateur group that used to sing free for anyone who wanted some singing is now able to charge a fee for performances. We are doing well over 70 performances a year and have been doing this for the last few years.

This brings me to the reason for this blog. Our dreams include:
1. Singing on a patriotic themed float in the Pasadena Rose Parade.
2. Singing in Washington DC for an event that honors our veterans. The Whitehouse would be great.
3. Singing for the opening celebration of the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Center in December 2010.

We're not sure how to get to these goals, but keep making contacts (phone calls, letters, in-person meetings, free performances for the right exposure) wherever we can. We keep trying to improve the sound. We have recorded a CD of 11 songs from the WWII era.

I'll keep writing about our progress. If interested, anyone can see photos of all our recent performances on our Facebook page-- Singing Blue Stars.