On Thursday, Oct 16, most students heard the bell signaling the start of fourth period and proceeded with their normal routines. Not so for the members of the Leesville Symphonic Band. They were hard at work preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime: The chance to perform for the former Lord Mayor of Westminster and the director of the annual London New Years parade in the hopes of being invited to perform in the parade following year.
The presentation ceremonies began as the band marched into the auditorium and counted off in their normal concert fashion. Jared Bouchard, Student Conductor of the Symphonic Band, then took the stage and conducted the band in “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save The Queen.”
As the enthusiastic applause died down, Gary Stephenson, Master of Ceremonies for the event, ascended the podium and introduced the band. Stephenson then introduced Christopher Serina, Director of Bands at LRHS, who ascended the stage to conduct the band in “Flourish for Wind Band” and “The Olympic Theme.”
“It definitely felt good because I knew was conducting the national anthem for the Lord Mayor. It was a good feeling to know that I am being a big part of a huge opportunity for the Leesville Band,” said Jared Bouchard, senior.
Catherine Longworth, former Lord Mayor of Westminster, and Robert Bone, Parade Director, presented the band with a formal invitation to the parade at the concert. Chris Serina informed them of the invitation at the end of last year. The invitation was announced far in advance to allow students the time to raise money for the trip. The cost for each student will be around $3,000, and the overall cost for the band exceeding $320, 000.
“I was really excited to have the chance to meet the Lord Mayor. It was an awesome opportunity,” said Danielle Benson, junior.
The parade hosts over 10,000 performers, hundreds-of-thousands of street spectators, and a live television audience numbering in the tens-of-millions. At the end of the parade, the band will perform a concert in Cadogan Hall, the renowned home of the the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
“I’m looking forward to the experience of getting to play with the band overseas because I’ve never been to England before. I love band and I’m very excited to play for everyone over there,” Shaelynn Wartenkin, sophomore.