(KPLC) - Members of the Pride of McNeese Marching Band and the Cowgirl Kickers set out for London Thursday after a long year of preparation.
"It's finally happening," said Dr. Jay Jacobs, director of bands at McNeese. "It's been about a year putting it together and it's finally here."
A chance to perform in front of the queen is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and Jacob says, in rain or shine, the Pride of McNeese is ready to leave their hearts at the arena.
"They all came in yesterday," said Jacobs. "We had a final practice session. We marched around campus in the cold and rain, the perfect setup for London. So they're all ready to go - it seems real."
McNeese will be the first band to perform at the 2018 London New Year's Day Parade.
Drum captain Ty Ellender says the band has a few tricks up its sleeve.
"We are also playing one of the queen's favorite tunes, Dancing Queen, so hopefully she likes it," said Ellender. "I'm sure she will. It's a whole different style of marching band that they have in other parts of the country."
Over 600,000 people will be lining up on the parade route and over 300 million viewers will be tuned in live.
Jacobs expresses his gratitude and says none of this would be possible without the community and the generosity of its donors.
"We got a lot of support from the entire community, alumni in athletics, everyone here at the university," said Jacobs. "They help with the large part of the bill so that the students didn't have to pay, and allowed so many more students to attend that wouldn't otherwise have a chance."
Once all 130 students touch down in London they will be ready to take formation.
You can watch the parade live HERE from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.