Officials from London’s New Year’s Day Parade and Festival are inviting 16 US bands to participate in one of the largest New Year’s parades in the world in 2018, including the 160-member marching band from Barrington High School in suburban Chicago, the Pioneer Press reports.
Barrington’s marching band was in London for the 2014 parade, and earlier this year, bands from Hinsdale Central High School and Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais added to the contingent of participants from Illinois.
“We’re honored to be invited,” the paper quoted Barrington High School band director Randy Karon as saying. “The first time, (we) got our foot in the door, and we’re hoping this trip will be even better.”
The annual event is one of the largest New Year’s Day parades in the world, and it attracts massive crowds. More than 8,000 marchers make the 2.2-mile journey to fill the UK with fun and festivities. An estimated 500,000 spectators line the route, and upwards of a hundred million people are expected to watch the parade on TV around the world.
Other bands that have been invited for the 2018 celebration are from Fort Myers, Florida:
From Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee:
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From Hartford Union High School in Hartford, Wisconsin:
And other US high schools to be determined in the coming days.
At Barrington, Robert Davis, a city councillor and former Lord Mayor of Westminster, formally delivered the parade invitation two days ago. “We do our best to make sure we choose only the best,” he said. “We knew from before that Barrington High School was a great success, so we invited them back for a second time.”
The full roster of bands hasn’t been released yet, and bands are being added one at a time as invitations are extended. American cheerleading squads also participate in the parade, which is otherwise filled with marching units from the various boroughs of London.