Ram Band invited across the pond

Ram Band receives personal invitation to play in London

By Christian Hunick
On April 20, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro
The Ram Band leads the march to the football stadium in the cap off to a Ram Jam. On game days for football, the band plays Ram Jam, throughout the game and a halftime show.

 

The ASU Ram Band was visited on April 11 by past Lord Mayor of Westminster Steve Summers, who announced the band’s formal invitation to perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival.

Summers was accompanied by the executive director of the London New Year’s Day Parade,  Robert Bone, and the director of international participation, Jonathan Whaley.

The London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival has over 8,000 performers and a street audience of over 600,000. The parade is broadcast to more than 600 million viewers, making it the largest event of its kind in the world.

Bone explained that marching bands, primarily from the United States, are the main attraction of the parade.

“We don’t have marching bands like you,” Bone told the Ram Band. 

The band also learned that even though Bone is the director of the parade, he does not have the authority to invite bands to perform.

“I have been doing this for 33 years . . . but still they don’t let me issue an invitation,” Bone said.

Summers, who from 2016-2017 held the title of Lord Mayor of Westminster, read the formal invitation. 

Following the invitation, Summers presented ASU Provost Dr. Don Topliff with a plate from Buckingham Palace as a gift to the university.

Director of Bands Dr. Jonathan Alvis expressed his pride in the Ram Band’s achievement.

“I am incredibly proud, excited, and honored,” Alvis said. “It is all of the positive emotions wrapped up into one. It’s great to be able to represent Angelo State at an event like this.”

Alvis, who previously has taken a different band to perform in London, said the Ram Band will love the experience.

“I’ve taken another band to this parade, and it was a great time. The students had a wonderful experience that changed their lives. They still talk about it, and it really is indescribable until you experience it.”

Chris McKowen, a senior member of the Ram Band, said that performing in the London New Year’s Day Parade is a very prestigious opportunity.

“For a marching band member, this ranks up there with getting to play in the Super Bowl,” McKowen said. “There is no greater opportunity you could have.”

Even though the university is not covering the cost of the trip, Mckowen said it is well worth the money.

“I’m going to be doing everything in my power to save enough money to go, even if it means taking out loans.”

 

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