The Heritage High School marching band will head across the pond next December to ring in 2015 as part of the London New Year’s Day Parade.
“You will be TV stars somewhere, maybe for a nanosecond, but you certainly will be stars,” said Bob Bone, the parade’s executive director, during the invitational ceremony at HHS Oct. 24.
He explained that the parade is the world’s largest on that holiday, featuring more than 8,500 performers and welcoming 750,000 observers along London’s streets, with 280 million more watching on television.
“It provided a feast of free entertainment for all the family on what had probably become the dreariest day of the year,” is how the event’s website describes the inaugural parade in 1987. “Featuring hundreds of dancers and musicians from home and abroad, it put real American style razzmatazz onto the streets of London.”
The Heritage students will march 2½ miles, passing by Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square on their way to the grand finale in the shadows of Big Ben and the House of Parliament.
It’s been tradition for the organizers to invite high-school bands from the United States.
“The quality of entertainment is absolutely superb because of you, the American marching bands,” said Bone. “That’s what the crowds like most of all. You see, we don’t have anything like it. You will be so popular with the crowds. And the cheerleaders, the young male population of London does get quite excited about that.”
Roger Bramble, deputy lieutenant of the parade, issued the official invitation.
“The sheer joy of making music with other people is something I would have liked to have,” he told the students. “Keep your music up. Even when things go wrong, sit down and play fistfuls of wrong notes, and things will go right.”
After HHS band director Jeff Helms accepted the offer, Littleton and London memorabilia was exchanged among the local and visiting dignitaries and the marching band burst into a rousing rendition of “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.
“See you in 14 months on the other side of the pond,” said Bone.