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Germantown High School band members help London ring in the new year

Members of the Germantown High School band participated in London’s New Year’s parade.

Members of the Germantown High School band participated in London’s New Year’s parade. Photo By Germantown School District

Jan. 8, 2013

Germantown - Nearly 100 Germantown High School students saw firsthand the benefits of hard work.

After months of practice and two years of fundraising, the Germantown High School band spent seven days in London, performing in the London New Year's Day parade. This is the second time Destination Events, the company that runs the New Year's parade, invited the band to perform in London. Germantown High School was first contacted in 1999 to perform overseas and has performed four times in Europe since then.

"It's the reputation of our group," Director of Bands James Barnes said as to why they are invited.

There were 94 students - 153 passengers counting parents, family and chaperons - who traveled to London on Dec. 27. The group raised close to $80,000 during the last two years in order to attend the international affair. Barnes said meeting fellow performers from not only all around the United States, but as far away as Congo, gives the students an international experience like no other.

"It went extremely well," Barnes said. "It was a great opportunity to see the beautiful city of London and yet the performances were the most significant part of the trip."

The parade was two miles, the longest parade route the band has undertaken this year, said Germantown High School senior and tenor saxophonist Claire Rapant.

"The parade, a lot of people said it was really short, but it was two miles, and it was the longest parade we've ever done but it seemed so much shorter because we were constantly moving," she said.

The most difficult part, Rapant said, was the constant movement and constant playing of the instruments simultaneously. The parade was about two and a half hours long.

This is the second time Rapant traveled to Europe with the band, which goes abroad every two years.

"Band's really fun and it's kind of defined me," she said of her experience in the Germantown High School Band.

While in London, the students also performed two concerts with fellow American bands at Cadogan Hall, the home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

For more on the students' trip to London, visit gtownbands.com.

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