With enthusiastic support from President Judy Genshaft, Provost Ralph Wilcox, the administration of the College of The Arts and School of Music, and USF Athletics, the USF Herd of Thunder Marching Band has accepted an invitation from the Lord Mayor of Westminster to march in the 2013 New Year’s Day Parade in London, England.
In the 27 years since its inception, the New Year’s Day Parade—London has grown to be the largest of its kind in the world. The Herd of Thunder is will join performers from across the globe in this high exposure event seen by a live audience of 750,000 people, and an internationally televised audience estimated at three hundred million. We are thrilled and honored to represent the University of South Florida on this international stage.
There is no application procedure for this highly respected parade, and the Herd of Thunder did not seek an invitation. Instead, the band was selected due to the recommendations of band directors who are familiar with the parade and the performance level of our fantastic ensemble. Although the HOT Band has been in existence for only thirteen years, it has developed a reputation for delivering exciting performances, musical excellence, and unwavering support for the University of South Florida.
Discussions about the trip began in summer 2011 when parade organizers contacted the band’s director, Dr. Matthew McCutchen. Following a period of gathering information, garnering support, and gauging student interest, the decision to move forward was made after the first of the year. On Monday, February 27 the band was visited by The Lord Mayor of Westminster who serves as the official spokesman for the parade. At that point, he issued the official invitation to an audience of Herd of Thunder members and university officials. The offer was immediately accepted on behalf of the band by Barton Lee, Interim Dean of the College of The Arts.
In addition to marching in the parade, the band will likely perform in a pre-parade concert in Trafalgar Square, and is currently looking for other performance venues that will benefit USF’s mission to extend its global reach. The trip will last for six days, and will include numerous sightseeing and cultural exchange opportunities in addition to the performances.
Although the University administration has been tremendously gracious in allowing the band to travel to London, it has been clear from the beginning that there are no funds available to support the trip, and the band and its students are solely responsible to pay the expenses. The cost for each student is $3,000, and there will be numerous additional expenses that the band will incur.
If you wish to make a financial contribution to support the Herd of Thunder’s efforts in this endeavor you may do so in two ways:
1) Click on this link to make an online donation by Credit Card: www.usf.edu/ua/band
2) Send a check to: USF Herd of Thunder Marching Band, 4202 E. Fowler Ave, MUS 101, Tampa, FL 33620.
Checks should be made out to “USF Foundation” and “London Parade” should be noted in the memo section.
Your support – both financially and otherwise – is greatly appreciated as we embark upon an endeavor that our students will remember for the rest of their lives, and one that will surely help spread USF’s commitment to developing a globalized student body and preparing people who will serve as international stewards and global leaders.