Lambert Band PerformanceListen to one of the selections performed by the Lambert Band. Works best in Firefox or Chrome.
Lambert High School’s band has often been the object of praise, but Wednesday that recognition came from thousands of miles away as a distinguished guest from England visited the school.
Former Lord Mayor Councillor Duncan Sandys, the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, praised the young musicians and officially invited them to participate in the 29th annual New Year’s Day Parade & Festival in London.
“We are extremely honored and I’m really happy for the kids,” said Scott McCloy, Lambert’s band director. “The students have worked amazingly hard and been so dedicated to building such a successful program at such a young age for the school.
“For students to receive this honor is truly wonderful and it will be a life-changing experience.”
Sandys as well as Robert Bone, founder and executive director of the parade, addressed students Wednesday morning in the school’s gym.
Also in attendance were South Forsyth and Riverwatch Middle School students, some of whom will be performing with the marching band in the parade, since the event is in January 2015.
Bone touted the parade as the greatest in the world, with 10,000 participants, compared to about 4,500 in the well-known Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The London procession boasts an audience of about 630,000, as well as 300 million who watch via television.
“Two-thirds of a million come out onto the streets in the city of Westminster every January 1 to watch this magnificent international spectacular,” Bone said. “And they stay on the streets of the city of Westminster for three hours and 45 minutes or thereabouts watching the entertainment.
“And do you know what they like best? They like high school marching bands from the United States of America … they come out to see you.”
Sandys gave some information about the parade route before the Lambert band performed their “Super Fly” performance for the dignitaries.
It was the first time Sandys, who was impressed, had seen the band in action.
Sandys, who has made several trips to Georgia as his wife is a native of Macon, rated the performance as “excellent.”
“Absolutely wonderful. Very, very high quality and exactly what we’re looking for in London,” he said. “In England, there aren’t really marching bands in the way that you have in this country … you bring color and enthusiasm. I mean, look at the welcome that we had this morning and then translate that onto the streets in London … it’s a mix that’s magic and it works.
“This school is amazing. It’s incredibly modern. It’s clearly full of lots and lots of talent.”