Hello to the members of the DGN Bands and Athenas from Merry Ol' England!
I am in London this week, having been invited by the London Parade Festival event organizers to attend a series of planning and logistics meetings relative to our upcoming performance at the end of the year. The trip has been exceptionally well organized thus far, and I find myself even more excited about our invitation to perform than I had been previously. (Is that possible?!)
This morning I had a chance to experience the luxury motor-coach tour that each participant will enjoy in December. Following that tour the parade organizers then had each of the band directors walk the entire 2.2 mile parade route so we could see exactly what to expect.
As you might guess, the route is spectacular, and will take us through he heart of London, ending at Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament. Quite a bit of time was spent explaining the TV-zone to us, and going over very detailed instructions about how the band will be featured in this area. Unlike any other parade I have been a part of in the past, there will be a specific 60-second period of time in which the band will actually turn to perform for the grandstands, and do a bit of drill while playing. We will have to work on this very specifically next fall as we prepare for the tour.
Here is a picture of the area where the television performance will be broadcast to millions of people, all over the world. Picture three massive grand-stands for seating in front of the buildings, and television cameras all over!
The remainder of my meetings this week will include opportunities to set our tour literature for the Wind Ensemble's performance in a New Year's Gala Concert, visit the concert hall where we will perform, visit with the hotel manager about the specific logistics of our band's accommodations (I'm staying in the hotel we will be in ... and you are going to LOVE it), and finalize all of the details of our itinerary (such as sight-seeing tours).
Here is a picture of the lobby of our hotel, The Cumberland. It is very modern, with a lot of interesting art. Much of the visual art (sculptural, video, etc.) is accentuated by translucent floor tiles that change color throughout the day. Click the hyper-link above to see more about the hotel.
I will sign off this post by adding that our walk along the parade route today was - by coincidence - in the middle of England's World Cup match this afternoon. Many schools let out early and many businesses in London closed so that people could watch the game. Many flags flying for England today, including on the back of the taxi cabs.
As I was walking the parade route with the event organizers, and taking notes about the angles and width of various turns, a simultaneous loud roar erupted from many pubs as England scored and went ahead 1-0. We had just walked through Piccadilly Circus (think London's version of Times Square), and the large video monitors were reporting that the USA had yet to score in their match. This was important because England's chances of advancing into the final 16 were significantly improved today if USA played to a draw, or lost. I returned to the hotel and walked into the lobby (where many had gathered to watch the match) just as the England game was ending. Joyful cheering in the lobby was suddenly dulled when it was announced that the USA had just scored a goal in their match against Algeria (in the 91st minute) and had gone on to win ... thereby leaping over England in the standings. I smiled, and quietly walked away from the crowd to the elevator.
I look forward to seeing many of you next week at the D99 Marching Band rehearsal for the July 4th parade. It's getting really hot in this phone booth ...