First came three tunes by Vanguard Marching Band, more than 100 musicians strong.
Then came the formal ask from London’s New Year’s Day parade brass. “Let me say ‘wow,’ ” parade founder Bob Bones said at West Boca High School Monday.
Sandys Duncan, great-grandson of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, issued the invitation for the 2019-2020 march.
The band stood around the auditorium, cheered and waved Union Jacks, the UK flags.
The New Year’s parade has 8,000 marchers. It’s watched by 670,000 spectators and has a worldwide TV audience of 600 million, Bone said.
Band director Larry Shane and principal Craig Sommer accepted gifts. A plate from Buckingham Palace commemorates Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.
The timeline gives Vanguard 14 months to raise $3,300 per band member. Supporters can write a check to Vanguard Marching Band and send it to the high school, said Michelle Yarris, booster band parent president.
Bone and Duncan are in the states for a few days to issue invitations to seven other American high school bands. Six were previously invited, Bone said. A second invitation is unusual, Duncan said.
Duncan is the former Lord Mayor of Westminster City Council and he represented the presidency of the London Mayors Association.
He was last here in August for a White House reception.