Middletown High School's award winning marching band received a royal invitation Monday to perform in the London New Year's Day Parade Jan. 1, 2014.
Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster in London, England Angela Harvey, visited the high school Feb. 25 and extended the formal invitation to the more than 50 students who participate in the marching band and color guard.
This is the first time that the Cavalier Marching Band has been invited to perform outside of the United States. Each member will have to raise about $3,000 through fundraising to embark on this life-changing experience.
"It is a great privilege to ask you to perform in the New Year's Day Parade, in London," Councillor Harvey told the students. Then she asked, "Do you want to do that, Middletown?"
The auditorium erupted in applause.
"It's not just an opportunity to take the band to London; it's about teaching out students to set goals and work hard," said Middletown High School Band Director Brian Endlein.
Drum Major, Katie Sharpe, a senior, said she was speechless after the presentation – where she was presented with the opportunity to present Councillor Harvey with a gift basket of Delaware and Middletown memorabilia.
"It's really cool to get to experience this and something I will never forget," Sharpe said.
As Councillor Harvey entered the auditorium for the noon time assembly, the Cavalier Marching Band played a tribute.
The reason the Lord Mayor traveled to Middletown is because, "your band is every good," Executive Director of the London Parade Festival Robert Bone told the students. "But that is a considerable understatement."
Bone spoke highly of the high school's choir as well, which performed a choral salute to their guests.
"I don't think I've heard voices like that in a high school choir, ever," he said.
Directed by Endlein, the Cavaliers recently took first place in the Tournament of the Bands Competition.
Now he will travel with his students across the Atlantic Ocean where they will march more than two miles through the streets of London New Year's Day in what is called the largest New Year's parade in the world.
"The parade is the greatest event in the greatest city in the world," Bone said.
With twice as many performers than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, at least 8,500 people from across the globe take place in the London New Year's Day Parade.
About 620,000 people take to the streets to watch, but Bone noted that it is quite difficult to fit two-thirds of a million people in the narrow, historic streets of Westminster.
He did guarantee though that the Cavaliers Marching Band will be famous though, as people around the world tune in to watch the nearly four hour parade, which is in its 28th year.
"It's a fantastic honor for the Cavaliers to go overseas and represent the United States and Delaware," said Delaware Lt. Governor Matt Denn.
Denn also extended an invitation to the first citizen of Westminster, England.
He told the Lord Mayor that she had an open invitation attend Middletown's notorious New Year's Day Hummer's Parade.