EDMOND — Members of the three Edmond high school marching bands will march in the New Year’s Day Parade in London, England, and will take part in a finale performance at the conclusion of the parade.
“I hope to get a well-rounded experience there … having the good memories that you always look back on,” said Chris Heyen, sophomore at Edmond North High School.
Nearly 700 students and chaperones intend to make the trip to London to perform in front of more than 500,000 spectators.
All three high schools will send their bands and orchestras, with Edmond Sante Fe High School and Edmond Memorial High School also sending their vocal departments.
The choirs and orchestras will perform at another venue and possibly walk alongside the bands during the parade, said David Koehn, Edmond Memorial orchestra director.
Edmond Memorial has never taken an entire group to London. Koehn said an orchestra ensemble from his school of about 28 students will perform at another venue during the trip.
Sante Fe High School has been invited to the parade multiple times and is taking more than 150 band members. More than 400 people from the school are making the trip, including chaperones.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Steve Summers, visited Edmond North last week to officially extend the invitation. He said he is excited to bring the three schools together.
“They have a great reputation,” Summers said. “They have amazing musical abilities. I think it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students.”
The parade will be broadcast live online Jan. 1 beginning at 6 a.m. Central Standard Time.
“There are hundreds and thousands of people going out onto the streets of London to actually see this parade, so we want to be sure it is really high standard for the crowd,” Summers said.
The theme for the two-mile parade is “ShowTime.”
“It is not just about performing in the parade; they will be visiting places such as Windsor. They will be spending time looking at historical and cultural things in London,” Summers said.
The three schools will unite at the end of the parade, along with an American university, to perform the final number, a medley of American and British music, along with a piece representing the parade theme.
Lowery said he and other directors plan to begin practicing for the performance when school resumes in the fall, and are currently working on fundraising.
The cost for each student is about $3,000. Sarah Neely, band director at Edmond Sante Fe High School, said the experience is worth the cost. She made the trip as a high school student.
“I remember marching down the streets of London and thinking that was the coolest thing and the greatest experience,” Neely said.
CAPTION: Lord Mayor Steve Summers poses for selfies with Victoria Kargl, left, Lauren Stoll and Lucie Cooper. [Photo by Eriech Tapia]