Spotlights
Good show! Impressed British New Year's festival officials offer second invitation to Dulaney High School musicians 
The Lion's Roar band and Wind Ensemble to help ring in 2015 for 220 million viewers
10/02/2013

Spotlight

It's a return engagement for the "Lion's Roar!"

Members of the Dulaney High School Marching Band and Wind Ensemble were invited on September 23 to march and play – for the second time in four years -- for a worldwide audience expected to watch the 2015 London New Year's Day Parade and Festival.

"This is a terrific opportunity for instrumental music students at Dulaney High School to perform overseas and experience a different culture," said Dulaney instrumental teacher and band director Barry Chesky.

The 120-member band and 45-member ensemble will return as somewhat of event veterans. In 2009, the band came to the attention of festival organizers who that year extended an invitation for Dulaney to appear in the 2011 New Year's Day extravaganza.

"I will never forget the excitement the marching band members experienced performing in the 25th anniversary of the London New Year's Parade in 2011," Chesky said. "I believe the experiences my students received on that trip will be remembered for the rest of their lives."

Snagging an invitation is prestigious – participation in the premier international event, which is billed as the largest New Year's parade and festival of its kind in the world – is by invitation only on behalf of the London Festival Patrons, one of whom is the Prime Minister of Great Britain. For the parade, more than 6,000 participants will wind their way for more than two miles through the heart of London, cheered by more than half a million street-side spectators and a television audience estimated in the tens of millions.

"We will give you the most memorable experience in our city that you could possibly hope for, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life," Festival Executive Director John Bone told the musicians at Dulaney.  "We'll have you play as many times as we can twist your arms, (at) Cadogan Hall, Home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and St. John's Smith Square -- great venues, terrific stages, professional, stage managed concerts (and) packed houses of enthusiastic Londoners." 

At the invitation ceremony, the British delegation – Bone and the former Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Catherine Longworth – seemed like old friends. They had visited in October 2009 and had fond memories of Timonium, including stopping at a nearby eatery for a nosh dressed in full formal regalia.

"It's great to be here again," Longworth said. "Listening to you just now, I was tapping my feet just wanting to join in."
The pair were treated to several selections from the band and wind ensemble, including classic James Bond movie theme music, before taking to the podium and formally inviting the band and ensemble. Both Bone and Longworth told students how impressed they were with the performances.

"You are, as I believe the youth in America say, awesome," Bone quipped.

Bone told the group they would work hard during their six-day visit, with performances not just in the parade but at concert venues throughout London. Marching bands are rare in Great Britain, with the exception of military regimental bands, so Bone confirmed that the American marching bands – and particularly Dulaney's – were among the most popular performers in the New Year's parade.

"The parade just loves the marching bands; it's one of the highlights," said Longworth. "We don't really have anything like this (in London). There's nothing quite like marching bands there, your size, your expertise, your formations. It's really quite popular."

After presentation of gifts – Bone and Longworth presented pins, a commemorative plate, and plaques to students and staff – the Britons met with BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance, Board of Education President Lawrence Schmidt, County Executive Education Liaison Orrester Shaw, and County Councilman Todd Huff, in addition to students and Dulaney staff.

If you are viewing this story on a mobile device, please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcps/sets/72157636094876113/ to see more photographs.

Story and photos by Charles Herndon, Communications Specialist.
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