On a recent eight-day trip to London, the Middletown High School Marching Band and the Concert Band enjoyed a “great musical experience” and were able to make the world their campus, said Brian Endlein, band director.
The marching band played in the New Year’s Day Parade in London’s West End in front of an estimated 500,000 people. It was broadcast live around the world.
As part of a concert gala, the high school’s concert band played on Dec. 29, 2017 at the St. John’s Smith Square in London in front of several hundred people. It was broadcast live over the internet which allowed for a worldwide viewing. St John's Smith Square is a former church and currently a concert hall in the center of Smith Square, Westminster.
About 70 Middletown High School students went on the trip from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3. Since both the performances of the marching band and concert band were broadcast, local families who couldn’t go on the trip could still watch their kids play in London.
The students paid for their trip with funds from many fundraisers over the last two years. About 60 parents who went on the trip paid for themselves. It was a self-funded trip through the school music program, and the district was fully supportive of the experience the trip would bring, Endlein said.
“We were actually invited back after our first experience in 2014. Initially back in 2014, we had been nominated by Paul Parets, band director at A.I. du Pont High School,” Endlein said.
He went on to describe what the trip meant to the students.
“There was a great deal of excitement leading up to the trip. But nothing compared to their reaction when they actually arrived in London,” he said. “It was a great musical experience for the students. It was filled with many cultural opportunities, including a lot of sight-seeing.”
The students were able to visit Windsor Palace, Oxford University, the Tower of London, and Greenwich where the prime meridian is located in London.
“That’s pretty inclusive,” Endlein said.
Besides visiting places, some students saw the Disney musical play, “Aladdin.”
“It was really a fantastic experience for our students because it provided them with an opportunity to truly make the world their campus,” Endlein said.