Popcorn, cookies, socks help fund Fleming Island High’s trip to London

Golden Eagles marching band to appear in New Year’s Day parade

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 11/2/22

FLEMING ISLAND – The invitation to participate in the New Year’s Day parade in London came nearly a year ago, which only gave the Fleming Island High band about 11 months to raise $90,000 to pay …

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Popcorn, cookies, socks help fund Fleming Island High’s trip to London

Golden Eagles marching band to appear in New Year’s Day parade

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – The invitation to participate in the New Year’s Day parade in London came nearly a year ago, which only gave the Fleming Island High band about 11 months to raise $90,000 to pay for it.

The band currently is selling wreaths – all while they’re working on their show that honors Queen Elizabeth. It is their final push to make sure their airline, hotel and meals are funded.

In the past year, however, the band has sold sports cups, socks and desserts. They also benefited from sponsorship and donations and completed surveys on websites for companies. But nothing filled the coffers more than popcorn.

“We made $16,000 on popcorn,” said band director Mara Rose. “That’s a lot of popcorn.”

The band will leave on Dec. 27 and return on Jan. 4. It will be the second time in seven years the Golden Eagles have made the trip across the pond to perform in front of 100,000 people and on national television.

“The show is definitely a lot of fun,” said senior Andrew Mechling, who plays the tuba. “The music we’re getting is a lot of fun. We’re putting a lot of work into the show. I’ve never done anything like this.”

Only a handful of band members have been to England. All said they were looking forward to exploring the city. Peyton Prokop, who plays the saxophone and oboe, said he is eager to see Big Ben and “all the places that are 1,000 years old.” He also wants to ride in a double-decker bus.

To earn an invitation, Rose had to give parade officials with testimonial letters, photos and a video of their performances. The Golden Eagles now are a legacy band, which means invitations essentially now are a matter of formality.

When she told the band in August 2021 about the trip, the students were caught off guard.

“It was like I was speaking another language,” she said.

The show is called “Lilibet,” which was Queen Elizabeth’s nickname. The original plan was to highlight her 70th jubilee, but they had to make adjustments after she died on Sept. 8.

“We had to make changes so the show made sense,” Rose said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

Two of the songs will be “God Save the Queen” and the music of Jupiter from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst.

The parade will take the band on a three-mile walk through the historic city. Once they are done, they will play six other shows around town.

“We’ve been fundraising for a year, but it’s going to be very worth it to see all those cool places,” said Cameron Lowery, who plays the trumpet. “I’ve never been out of the country. It’s going to be very interesting.”

The band has plans to see the Crown Jewels and see a couple plays. Students will be allowed to go out on their own to “explore” the city.

“I want to see everything about the queen,” Lowery said.

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