McNeese marching band invited to perform in London

McNeese marching band invited to perform in London
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Former Lord Mayor of the city of Westminster, Catherine Longworth traveled to McNeese Friday to personally invite the McNeese Marching Band to perform in London's 2018 New Year's Day Parade.

The invitation left drum captain, Blake Gilbert in awe.

"That really kind of made it real," he said. "I was just like okay this is all talk, we've been talking about this for a month now and then...to see the members here giving us the official invitation, it was just an eye opener."

Bands must be nominated by a previous participant, and can only attend unless they are officially invited by the Former Lord Mayor herself.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for these guys to come to London, and get a feel of the culture and Europe and you know it's a great learning curve for them and a wonderful opportunity of a lifetime," said Longworth.

The band was also presented with a plate that holds the names of the kings and queens of the United Kingdom, cuff links with the Westminster coat of arms and a umbrella to keep the rain away on parade day.

For students like Gilbert being in this band takes a lot of work.

"There really is a lot of extra time devoted to this organization and a lot of people think it's marching band how hard can it be," he said. "It's honestly a very tasking activity as far as how much we have to learn, how much time we have to put together to practice to get this ensemble where it needs to be so there really is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that a lot of people don't know about."

But Jacobs is proud to see all his student's hard work finally paying off.

"These are great students who give us a lot of optimism for the future, and not just here at McNeese, but wherever they end up and whatever they do once they leave," he said.

Jacobs plans to use this opportunity to recruit new students to join the band and come to London. He is also working to help raise money for his student's travel expenses.

Donations can be made through the McNeese Foundation.

If you would like to make a donation, click HERE, or call 337-475-5588

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