Leon High School Band Left For London [SLIDE SHOW]

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By: Lanetra Bennett
December 27, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - School is out on holiday break, but, some students at Leon High had to report to school early this morning.

But, this is one time they didn't mind. The band left for its trip to London to perform in the prestigious New Year's Day Parade!

Ninth grader, Kelli Jones, says, "We're going to play for the Queen of England."

The Leon High School Marching Redcoats Band loaded up around 7:00 Friday morning to head to England to perform in London's New Year's Day Parade. 2014

The band has been working hard since the students were invited last year to be among the nearly 9,000 performers from around the world who participate at the parade and festival.

Jones says, "Every Tuesday and Thursday after football season, we had to have marching band practice to set drill. Then in class, we rehearsed the music for the concert. We had some afters-school rehearsals for everyone to play together."

The students and chaperons are riding two charter buses to Orlando, then taking three plane flights to reach London.

Jamie Jefferson, a 10th grade band member, says, "It's going to be a new thing for me. I've never been on a plane, let alone out of the country. So, it'll be exciting."

Leon High School Principal Billy Epting says, "I think it's a nice combination of just the history of Leon Band to be able to receive this honor, to be able to go to London and participation in the New year's Day Parade."

The concert band will also perform in the same hall where the royal philharmonic orchestra performs.

The group returns next Friday night.

Updated: December 27, 2013
By: Lanetra Bennett

The Leon High School Band met at the school at 7am and departed around 8:15am.

Two bus loads of students, faculty, and chaperons are driving to Orlando and flying out from there. The principal, who's also going, says it will take three flights.

They are scheduled to arrive around Noon tomorrow London-time.

By: Lanetra Bennett
December 17, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The countdown is on until the new year; and until when Tallahassee's Leon High School's band will be on a trip of a lifetime.

WCTV has been following the band's fundraising progress every since last year when it was invited to go to London.

The Leon High School Band will perform in the prestigious London New Year's Day Parade.

The band director, Brett Pikuritz, says the band has done almost everything you can think of for fundraising. He says they're especially grateful to business and individual donors.

Pikuritz says to them, "Thank you, thank you so much. That all adds up, whether it was $5 or $100 or $500. We are eternally indebted to you and thank you. We will be very proud to represent the community."

Ethan Brown is a senior in the Leon High School Band. He says, "I am beyond excited. It's probably a dream for most bands to go out of the country and perform at their highest level like we do. I'm very excited to go to London."

The band leaves December 27th.

Pikuritz says although they're 95 percent there, they did get an unexpected expense last month and could use a little more help. If you'd like to contribute, you can write a check to Leon High School Band or go to www.LeontoLondon.com.

Tallahassee, FL - September 28, 2012

The rumors were circulating, from reality star Snooki to President Barack Obama, students at Leon High School knew they were getting a surprise visitor today.

The Leon High School Band gave a nice, warm, musical welcome Friday afternoon, but, students had no idea who they were welcoming.

It was Deputy Lieutenant of London Roger Bramble.

He and other representatives visited Tallahassee to give the band a *surprise* invitation.

Lizzy Krzeminski, Leon Band Drum Major: "It feels pretty good. I'm very, very - really, I can't even begin to explain my excitement right now."

Leon's band is invited to perform in London's New Year's Day Parade in 2014.

The highly prestigious traditional turn of year celebration is established as the biggest event of its kind anywhere in the world.

Brett Pikuritz, Leon High School Band Director: "I feel so humble and gracious to the organization because this is my first year. The kids are doing great work but, this invitation is because of the work that has preceded us."

The band showed the Queen's representatives just why they deserved to be among the nearly nine-thousand performers from all corners of the globe who participate at the parade and festival.

Brett Pikuritz, Leon High School Band Director: "I think they really are what the crowds come out to see. We don't have that sort of thing in the UK. We have plenty of military bands, brass bands, that sort of thing. But, we don't have the raz-ma-taz of the American high school stuff. So, they love it."

Tallahassee, FL - September 28, 2012

WCTV wants you to know that it's been hard to keep this a secret, but we did as instructed to keep the students from finding out and spoiling the surprise!

The Deputy Lieutenant of London – Her Majesty the Queen’s Representative – travelled to Tallahassee today to deliver a very special invitation from the Olympic City to some talented young musicians.

Roger Bramble DL is on a special mission which will enable Leon High School to embark on a wonderful European adventure.

The students were not told that the invitation is coming.

The band will make an historic appearance at London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2014.

The highly prestigious traditional turn of year celebration is established as the biggest event of its kind anywhere in the World.
More than 10,000 performers from all corners of the globe entertain a street audience of around 500,000 – and a global TV audience of tens of millions.

The historic 2.2 mile parade route enjoys the magnificent backdrop of iconic buildings streets, squares and piazzas.

Local TV stations will be offered full coverage of the London’s New Year’s Day parade featuring the band’s performance live.

The Deputy Lieutenant was accompanied by directors of the parade Bob and Geraldine Bone and parade executive Jonathan Whaley.

Patrons and supporters of the event include The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and senior representatives of the American community in London.

The students will also embrace the rich cultural heritage of the country with a comprehensive educational and cultural programme of activities during their week-long visit.

Their programme of activity will embrace visits to some of London’s many world class museums, galleries and historic sites.

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