The marching band from Libertyville High School in Chicago’s northern suburbs will join others, including Barrington High School, in London in front of more than 600,000 people who will be in attendance and an estimated 300 million who will watch through other media coverage, for London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
The London New Year’s Day Parade travels down Picadilly, one of the city’s most famous thoroughfares, through Picadilly Circus, and right in front of 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s residence, on its way to Big Ben, the iconic clock by the Houses of Parliament.
The music program at Libertyville has garnered some world-class recognition in other respects as well: its wind ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in April. The Marching Wildcats were nominated for the next world-level performance in London by Lake Zurich High School band director Josh Thompson, whose band marched down the London streets for this same parade in 2008.
One of Libertyville’s feeder districts recently tweeted a promotion for School District 70’s instrumental music program, saying that several famous people from the US and the UK played musical instruments. Among them are Prince Charles, who played cello; Albert Einstein, who played violin; and Bill Clinton, who played saxophone, not only in his school band but on a TV show during his 1992 campaign for president.
Expected to perform in the 2018 LNYDP
Most of the marching bands participating in the LNYDP come from the US, as marching band isn’t really a thing in London’s high schools. That doesn’t mean they’re all big, though. Verrado High School, from near Buckeye, Arizona, only opened in 2006 with just a freshman class and only nine students in the marching band. The school will bring more than 100 marchers to London for the New Year’s Day festivities.
- Barrington H.S., Bronco Marching Band, Ill. (social)
- Charlottesville H.S., Marching Knights, Va. (site)
- City of London Brass Band, London, all ages (site)
- Edmond North H.S., Husky Band, Okla. (site)
- FAKI — The Kimbanguist Brass Band, London, ages 7–70 (social)
- Libertyville H.S., Marching Wildcats, Ill. (site)
- Los Alamitos H.S., Griffins Marching Band, Calif. (site)
- McNeese State Univ., Cowboy Marching Band, Lake Charles, La. (site)
- Middletown H.S., Cavalier Marching Band, Del. (site)
- Oak Grove H.S., marching band, San Jose, Calif. (site)
- Palm Springs H.S., Spirit of the Sands, Calif. (site)
- Pickerington North H.S., marching band, Ohio (site)
- Santa Fe H.S., marching band, Edmond, Okla. (site)
- Shawnee Mission West H.S., Pride Marching Band, Overland Park, Kan. (site)
- St. Paul’s Episcopal School, marching band, Mobile, Ala. (site)
- Stephen F. Austin H.S., Maroon Marching Band, Austin, Texas (site)
- Hartford Union H.S., Marching Orioles, Wis. (site)
- Troy H.S., Trojan Marching Band, Ohio (site)
- Verrado H.S., Viper Vanguard, Ariz. (social)
- Walled Lake Northern H.S., Marching Knights, Commerce, Mich. (site)
What student newspapers are saying about the parade
“It will be a really cool thing to experience. It is something that individually the students might not ever be able to do, so it is cool for us to be able to provide that experience that they can look back on and have pictures and memories and everything like that.” —Matt Karnstedt, a band director at Libertyville H.S., quoted by Kath Haidvogel in Drops of Ink.
“Our students do such a great job of representing our school, community, state, and the USA. Getting to experience the history and culture of Great Britain with peers who have similar interests is great as well.” —Christy Fine, orchestra director at Santa Fe H.S., quoted by Sydney Varner in The Ruff Draft.
“American bands are the stars of the show—other than possibly your cheerleaders,” Chase Hunter quoted Bob Bone, the executive director of the LNYDP, as saying a year ago when he came to present the invitation, in the Viper Times at Verrado H.S. He told the band’s director she had to bring the umbrella he gave her, because “it never rains when you have an umbrella, and it always rains when you do not. It’s worked so far, so you must bring it.”