FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Former Lord Mayor Councillor Duncan Sandys traveled to Forsyth County’s Lambert High School to invite the school’s Stampede Marching Band to participate in the 29th New Year’s Day Parade and Festival in London January 2015.
Sandys (pronounced Sands), great grandson of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the former Lord Mayor of Westminster in London, visited the school March 20 to invite the marching band.
“I can’t tell you how wonderful an experience this will be [for the marching band],” Sandys told reporters. “With history all around you, it’s going to be a unique experience for them.”
Sandys described Lambert as a wonderful school with a lot of “enthusiasm and color.”
Sandys, whose wife is a Macon, Ga. native, told the Forsyth Herald the parade has scouts who identify bands of “sufficient quality to take part in the whole process.”
“There are bands that come from across the country. For me, I have more of a connection to Georgia than other states,” Sandys said.
In addition to Lambert, Sandys traveled to Illinois, Arizona, Florida and Texas schools to personally invite marching bands to take part in the parade.
Band Director Scott McCloy expects about 200 students to make the trip to London.
Unfortunately, the trip does come with a price tag, McCloy said.
“We will definitely be looking for business sponsorship as well as fundraising,” McCloy said. “I believe most students would want to take advantage of the opportunity.”
McCloy said the students knew they were receiving an invitation, but they didn’t know the enormity of the visit.
“We kept that a secret until this morning,” he said.
McCloy said the school is only four years old and has really worked hard to achieve this success.
“It’s because of them, it’s because of their drive and their passion,” McCloy said.
Some 10,000 performers from throughout the world will entertain a street audience of about 500,000 and a world television audience of tens of millions, said parade Executive Director Robert Bone.
“We are the greatest event in the world,” Bone said. “Isn’t it nice that we have something bigger than the U.S.?”