Former Lord Mayor, Councillor Duncan Sandys visited Barrington High School, Tuesday, to invite the marching band to participate in the 28th New Year’s Day Parade & Festival in London, Jan. 1, 2014.
The highly prestigious turn-of-year tradition is established as the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world, according to a news release from the London Parade.
More than 10,000 performers from all corners of the globe entertain a street audience of around 500,000 – and a global TV audience of tens of millions.
The office of Lord Mayor carries many civic duties and responsibilities in the city at the heart of government, state, church and royal residence – and includes hosting the highly prestigious street parade and festival.
Read what Band Director Randy Karon had to say about the honor in this Q&A:
How did the BHS band get selected for this honor?
We were selected on recommendation of our band by directors who have participated in the London New Year's Parade in the past as representatives of the state of Illinois. I'm not exactly sure of those who have recommended us, but I do know that one of the directors who recommended us was Josh Thompson, band director from Lake Zurich HS.
How did you feel when you found out the band was selected to go to London?
At first I wasn't quite sure what was going on. I actually got a phone call from the U.S. liaisons who are based in Atlanta, asking me what I thought of the invitation, but I unfortunately hadn't received the letter yet. After an explanation, and an e-mail, I was definitely thinking that this invitation was not just the "run of the mill" invitation that I receive throughout the year. I actually received the REAL invitation in the mail the day after I spoke with the liaison, and began thinking about the possibility of the Barrington High School Band representing the state of Illinois in the 2014 London New Year's Day Parade.
What did the students say when they were told; what was their reaction?
When I told the students, I got very surprised reactions. I think they were excited right away. We did some preliminary checking on how many students would be interested in the experience and I was overwhelmed at the positive response. The senior band members this year were disappointed that they wouldn't be at BHS, but I did invite all of them to come back and participate in the performance. A few of them actually will be performing with us next January!
How many students will go to London?
At this point I have about 94 student performers, and about 60 non-performers going on the trip (family members, etc....)
Are there plans to fundraise for the trip?
Annually we do two fundraisers for the students for our major tours to allow them to raise money for their trips. This year, we have already done four fundraisers which range from selling holiday cheesecakes, cookie dough, Easter butter braid pastries, and last week our band booster group did a London Pub Quiz for the adults which is basically a trivia challenge for teams of adults centering around questions about England and London. It was a really fun event, complete with fish and chips and bangers and mash that got us excited about the London trip.