London official invites Tri-City Band Corps to New Year’s Day Parade

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By Cathy Wang | Opinions Editor

On the morning of Oct. 3, 2015, Westminster City Councillor Robert Davis, MBE, DL from Westminster, London formally invited the Tri-City Band Corps (TBC) to perform in the 30th annual New Year’s Day parade. London and Fremont dignitaries, TBC students, and community members filled Valhalla for the official London invitation ceremony.

Irvington’s marching band initiated the ceremony with its competition march. Amid jokes about American accents and England’s winter weather, the Parade Executive Director Bob Bone presented information to the audience on the annual parade.

“London New Year’s Day parade has around 8500 performers from 20 different countries in the world. 650,000 people come out on the streets because they want to see you,” said Mr. Bone. “We love the American marching bands.”

After giving a speech on his background in Westminster and describing the parade route from Ritz Hotel to Parliament Square, Councillor Davis, as senior patron of the parade, presented the formal invitation to TBC’s founder Harrison Cheng.

Councillor Davis and Mr. Bone then presented paperweights as gifts to Irvington marching band adviser Mr. Rodda and Fremont officials who supported TBC, and an umbrella to Cheng.

“Because we all know that it never rains when you bring an umbrella,” joked Mr. Bone.

Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison expressed his pride in TBC’s representing the Tri-City region of Fremont, Newark, and Union City in London. He presented Cheng with a congratulatory award for his work with TBC.

Cheng and TBC Chief Executive Officer and Mission San Jose senior Sara Tsai also received a $500 check towards the London trip from nonprofit organization Citizens for a Better Community (CBC).

“We challenge the City of Fremont to donate as much if not more [to TBC],” said CBC Treasurer Steve Cho.

Forty-five members of TBC, including 29 Irvington students, will be performing in London this winter.

“It’s a very new experience traveling to a different country I’ve never been before. Drum majoring for it, I feel like it’s more of a challenge than anything,” said senior Edward Chen. “It’ll be the longest parade [2.2 miles] I’ve ever participated in, but I feel like it’ll be fun showing off my skills.”

TBC was a non-profit organization of 12 students founded in 2004 and has since expanded to include over 250 members from eight Bay Area high schools. It has become the largest marching band outside of school systems and is the only program run by high school students. Audition videos for London New Year’s Day Parade were submitted in 2013, and TBC was accepted. However, due to travel conflicts with Mission San Jose marching band, the trip was postponed until this year.

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Caption: The Irvington marching band performed its competition song for London and Fremont officials. (Cathy Wang)

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Caption: Councillor Davis presents TBC founder Harrison Cheng with the official invitation to perform in London New Year’s Day’s Parade (Cathy Wang).