An international invitation from across the waters has been bestowed upon the young members of one Gwinnett County high school band during a special ceremony that happened Thursday evening. The award-winning Brookwood Marching Band formally accepted the royal invitation to be among the participants of the 2017 London New Year’s Day Parade.
Brookwood High school is not the only Gwinnett County band to receive a royal invite to London’s New Year’s Day Parade. Less than a month ago, London dignitaries visited Mill Creek High School to officially invite the Pride of Mill Creek Marching Band to perform during the 2018 New Year’s Day parade.
Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and Representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Roger Bramble presented the Brookwood Marching Band with its official invitation during the ceremony at the Brookwood Community Stadium in Snellville on Thursday. Also attending the invitation ceremony was the London Parade Festival Founder and Executive Director, Robert Bone. He was joined by Assistant Director, Lizzie Bone. For the United Kingdom, this traditional parade is a prestigious calendar event that always begins with a special send-off message from the Queen Elizabeth II.
The 2016 London New Year’s Day Parade will celebrate its 30th year and will reflected that celebration with the theme “30 Magical Years”. The parade began in 1987 with just a few hundred people turning out for some holiday entertainment. January 1, 2015, organizers estimated about 600,000 people packed the London streets and millions more watch by television. Brookwood will join more than 8,000 international performers for the 2017 parade including marching bands from high schools and universities across the USA. The parade is noted as one of the largest events of its kind. It is said to nearly double the size of the United States’ famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Gaining this royal honor is a very special accomplishment because it is by invitation only. To be invited, a music program must be nominated to the Selection Committee by a previous participant or one of the Regional Directors of Music. According to the guidelines, “one cannot ‘apply’ and no ‘audition tape’ need be sent.”
It is also unique that two schools from the same school district would receive this chance to perform at the same parade one year apart. While this is a performance activity, it is also a historic trip for these students as well. The band members will find themselves marching past locations and sites they have read about in both history and literature. The 2.2 mile parade route ends under the Clock Tower in Parliament Square.
Brookwood’s invitation ceremony and reception was open to the public. The band also kicked off fundraising efforts in order to pay for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They will seek community donations, business sponsorship and other fundraisers. For more information on how to donate or become a sponsor, contact Band Director, Laura Stanley at 678-344-9366. She is also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .