Band, choir invited to 2023 London New Year’s Day Parade


Photo via DGN Band Blog

PERFORMANCE READY: DGN band performs for London New Year’s Day parade organizers

Emma Gramm, Feature Editor

Cheerio! The band will be returning to the UK accompanied by the choir this Dec. 27 for the annual London’s New Year’s Day parade. This will be the choir’s first time going to London, so a variety of new arrangements and preparations are in store. 

The London New Year’s Day Parade has over 500 million global viewers and 500,000 street spectators watching from the sidelines. It is the largest single-day television broadcast and event of its kind, so all eyes are on the band as they march down the street. Senior Lincoln Peckenpaugh plays the trombone and marched alongside the band on New Year’s day.

“There was definitely a level of anxiety that went into getting ready for marching in the parade, but once we started playing and seeing people rows deep on the streets cheering for us, the nerves were replaced with gratitude, excitement, and joy,” Peckenpaugh said.  

Each year the organizers of London’s New Year’s Day Parade decide the lineup for each act. After DGN’s performance in 2018 they were able to make a big enough impression and set themselves up for another invite for the 2023 invite. 

“We went in 2018 and we were kind of the talk of the town. Our kids were moving, there was a lot of choreography, so we stood out in that regard,” band director Jesse Smith said.

While the band performs in the parade, the choir will sing as part of a larger festival choir, involving all the other invited schools. The choir normally takes a trip semi-annually, but their 2021 outing was postponed for a later date. This makes the London trip the first time the choir and band students will get to travel with the school. 

“I’ve only been out of the country once and haven’t been to the UK, but I am really excited to be there with my friends and to experience their culture and view the different sights,” band member freshman James Ursulica said.

Participants in the parade can range globally, so the Trojan band is acting as a representative for the United States. Londoners do not typically get to see high school marching bands, making the band’s role in the parade important. 

“When we go we are ambassadors for the United States. People over in England don’t have marching bands the way that we do, so they love American marching bands,” Smith said.

A delegation from London typically travels to the US annually to make formal invitations to participating schools. This year, the ambassadors for the parade stopped by DGN and took part in the celebration with the band and choir. They were met with a band and choir performance.

“It was a really big deal, we got to perform in front of many important people,” choir member junior Kayla Kelum said. “I was so happy to be taking part in this and it made me even more excited for the London trip.”

The band and choir take months to rehearse in preparation for the event. Once the band finishes with the football season, they will start having practices that are solely for the parade, learning choreography and new songs. The choir also learns news songs for their performances, making them have additional time for practice. 

In between performances, the groups get to partake in some more tourist type activities. Visiting museums, seeing historical landmarks, and taking in an entirely different culture are all in the cards for the upcoming trip.

Choir director Frank Piekarz has appreciated trips like these in the past for the experiences outside of music they provide for students

“My favorite part of touring with our choir students is sharing the many types of unique opportunities that we have together. Musical ones, primarily, but also historical, cultural, and social in nature. Memories created on trips like these last a lifetime,” Piekarz said.