The Evans High School marching band will wear out some shoe leather on the streets of London on Sunday, performing in the Lord Mayor of Westminster's New Year's Day Parade.
"Everyone is very excited about the trip," said Reid Hall, the Evans High band director. "When we came back from Thanksgiving break, the students really started verbalizing their excitement."
Preparations for the trip, including scouting locations and student fundraising, have been going on for nearly two years, Hall said.
Students worked hard, busing tables for tips at restaurants and selling magazines, sodas and fruit to help pay the more than $2,000-per-student tab for the trip.
Hall said this year's ninth-graders started pitching in while they were still in eighth grade.
The 145 band members, 33 chaperones and 25 supporting staff were scheduled to depart for London on Tuesday and return Jan. 3, Hall said.
The trip isn't all work. There will be plenty of time for fun, too, Hall said.
The students will tour the city of London, Stonehenge, Bath, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London, she said.
"On the students' free days, they will be able to travel throughout the city with chaperones to many of the historical places such as Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral and the many museums," Hall said. "And of course, (we'll) throw in a little shopping at Harrod's and Hard Rock Cafe."
"We have been able to give the students Web sites and handed out information in order for the students to learn a little bit more about what they are going to see," Hall said.
The students also will see a performance of the musical Blood Brothers and have a New Year's Eve party at their hotel, Hall said.
During the trip, students in the jazz band will perform at Westminster Hall, followed by the entire marching band's performance Sunday in front of an estimated 1 million people in the parade.
Hall has said that she and her students are not nervous about their safety.
"It is a fun-filled, busy week for the students that will be great experiences for many of them, from flying for the first time to being in a foreign country," Hall said. "We truly hope to be good ambassadors for our country, state, city and school."
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