HUNTINGTON — Marshall University's marching band, the Marching Thunder, will travel to London in December 2019 and will perform in the 2020 New Year's Day Parade there.
The School of Music is planning a special ceremony and celebration from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the Cam Henderson Center, during which it will receive the official invitation from the executive director of the parade as well as the Lord High Mayor of London.
The Marching Thunder was selected after a global search of marching bands and following the band's successful international debut in Rome in 2016. In addition to the parade performance, the members of the Marching Thunder will enjoy several days of educational tours and sightseeing in England.
The London New Year's Day Parade is one of the largest of its kind. It is broadcast throughout England and the United States. It includes marching bands from around the world as well as floats, balloons and other entries. Similar to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the event includes a parade route through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Waterloo Place, and culminates in a grandstand performance that is broadcast live.
"One of the favorite parts of my job is being able to offer new and different opportunities to students," said Adam Dalton, director of bands, in a release. "Events like this one are once in a lifetime. I have been fortunate to travel the world thanks to music, and I love that I get to give that to our students at Marshall. It is an incredible honor to receive our second invitation to an international parade, and I can't wait to experience this with the Marching Thunder."
In an email invitation to join the event, Powell Johann, senior director of International Participation for London's New Year's Day Parade, said the invitation was due to "the prowess you showed in the sister event in Rome several years ago and by continuing accolades from USA-based music educators and adjudicators."
"In addition to that, I do want to add that we involved with Youth Music were so very impressed with the deportment, manners and good humor of your band members," Johann said. "Their friendliness and cooperation were remarked on with some passion by the authorities in Frascati, Rome and the Vatican itself. ... They were marvelous ambassadors for the nation, and we expect much the same next year in London where they will receive a great welcome."