MHS band invited to London

The Montevallo High School Marching Band &045; the Troubadours &045; proudly displays a United States flag on the wall of the band room.

It is right beside Britain’s Union Jack flag.

Don’t question these kids’ loyalty, though. The flag is just there to remind them to work hard and practice for a much-anticipated trip to London for the Lord Mayor’s New Year’s Day Parade on Jan. 1, 2003.

The Troubadours were invited to participate in the parade, an honor given to only about 15 to 17 marching bands in the United States each year.

&uot;(Being in the parade) is by invitation only,&uot; said Craig Bates, MHS band director. &uot;And no one else from Alabama is going.&uot;

The kids will leave on Dec. 27 and plan to return on Jan. 3.

The cost per student is $1,850, or about $68,000 total, and Bates said the fund-raising effort has been only a mild success so far.

&uot;The kids are going to have to pay for most of it,&uot; he said. &uot;There are some students with special needs who will need donations because their parents can’t afford to pay for them to go. The parents have two jobs already and can barely survive, much less pay for the trip.&uot;

The band has been doing their part, however, to help raise as much as possible.

They had a skeet shoot at Tannehill Historical State Park, but Bates said most of the money has been made by the students working in concession stands at the concert series at the Oak Mountain Ampitheater.

In those cases, the students get to keep a percentage of what they make to go toward the trip.

&uot;You can imagine the amount of money it will take (to pay for the trip),&uot; said Bates. &uot;We have 37 students going and with parents and everyone else, we have about 80 going.&uot;

Even though the funds are a worry, the students are excited about their trip.

Drum Major Erin Aslin assured that the whole band had been working hard at raising funds.

&uot;I’ve been (to London) once before,&uot; she said, &uot;and I’m excited to be going back.&uot;

Senior Lori Pickett said, &uot;I think going to London will provide many new experiences and exposure to different parts of the world for our band, which is very exciting.&uot;

The band members are still trying to raise money. Donations are tax-deductible. Call Craig Bates at 682-6407 or the MHS office at 682-6400