SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - The Seminole County High School Marching Band is traveling to France to participate in an opportunity of a life-time.
The band is one of only five high school marching bands in the country who were selected to perform at the Normandy, France D-Day 75th Memorial Parade and Musical Salute to the Veterans.
Band Director Phillip Malcolm said the organizers invited their band to play because they remembered their performance at Pearl Harbor a few years ago. Malcolm said his band is humbled by the opportunity. “We’ve played on the steps of the Capitol in the U.S. We’ve taken the jazz band to Hiroshima, Japan but we’ve never done anything that’s going to be so significant and represent our government.”
The 140-member band spent countless hours rehearsing in the hot sun and during their free time. But rising senior and Alto Sax player Sydney Lias said the work was worth it. “I’m very excited for this opportunity to show how we appreciate what they did because I know that was a turning point in [World War II] and without them I don’t know where we would be today in terms of relationships in this country.”
Band member and recent Seminole High School graduate Logan Valenti said he is overwhelmed but also humbled by the opportunity. “It’s not really something most kids get to experience. I mean, we’re going to be standing on the same beach where hundreds of thousands of others died.”
The band will fly out of Orlando International Airport on Tuesday and perform at two American cemeteries in Brittany and Normandy on June 6th and June 7th. On Saturday, they will perform in a parade before a crowd of up to one-million people.
Malcolm said he hopes the experience is life-changing for his students. “Basically, 75 years ago there was a day that changed the world and so for our students in their capacity they’re going to learn about that and it’s going to change their world.”
The band returns to Florida on June 12.