The Honor Green Band rehearsed in the Anaheim Stadium parking lot. (Photo by KENT CHRISTENSEN)

Several special moments have punctuated the visit by the nearly 180-member Honor Green Band from Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, who are in Southern California ahead of their appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 2.

Trombonist Ami Muto takes a breather after practice. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

On Tuesday, the marchers were dodging raindrops during their rehearsal in the Anaheim Stadium parking lot, working diligently to fine-tune their sound ahead of the parade as well as performing at Disneyand on Thursday, the Rose Parade Bandfest on Friday, and a charity concert Saturday at Kennedy High School.

Members of the percussion detail are chipper even after a morning of repeated marching and drumming. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

“This has been like a dream already, and we haven’t had any performances yet,” marveled saxophonist Yudai Yamauchi. A university student majoring in spatial design, he said he is particularly interested in seeing the Disney Concert Hall in Downtown L.A.

Some unexpected magic came their way before their post-rehearsal evening of fun at Disneyland on Tuesday: members of the Angels’ staff rolled out with gifts of Shohei Ohtani sweatshirts for each member, and there was even a visit from Santa Claus himself, still in town after Christmas … perhaps his flight was among the thousands delayed across the country.

The band will perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2. (Photo by JAYSON ANTONIO)

The Green Band Association has been sponsoring bands from Japan to perform in international venues since 2006, including 11 of the past 14 Rose Parades.

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