Go Gators! The University of Florida’s Pride of the Sunshine Fightin’ Gator Marching Band has been invited to perform at the 2012 London Olympics! Just about a year ago, Music and Band Director, Dr. Jay Watkins, announced to the very surprised, and subsequently, very excited 350 University of Florida students and band members that the Olympic Committee had invited them to the Olympics and he had graciously accepted!
Two Marco Islanders, Lely High School alumni, will be traveling to London with the Gator Band – Senior, Madeleine Richie and Sophomore, Bailey Quinn. Madeleine, a piccolo player, and third year in the band, enters her senior year this fall at UF as a geology major. Bailey, a saxophonist, and second year in band, enters her sophomore year this fall in pre-med. Both were fellow Lely High School Trojan Marching Band members and share many memories of Marco Island childhood, high school and now college life.
They practiced and marched throughout the fall 2011 football season, dedicating to the Gator Band ten to twelve hours a week plus Saturday game days in The Swamp with the promise and dream of marching in the world arena of the Olympics. The band students are from all over the state and country, most are not music majors, but pursuing careers in science, engineering, medicine and law. Full schedules of classes plus the hours spent dedicated to band practice and performances make these students high performance individuals – they are ready for the challenge of performing abroad!
Through the spring semester, with football season over, the band met a few times for small practices, meetings and, since it is college, just plain fun. It seemed like summer would never arrive! Now, they can’t believe the time has finally come! Rigorous practices will begin, measurements for new uniforms, a trip on a chartered plane, and then nine days in London performing in the Olympics, including the opening ceremony. There will be time for London area sight-seeing for the band. Plans include attending Olympic events and tours of the Roman Baths, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Tower of London, the British Museum, Christchurch College, Oxford and even seeing a show at the famous West End Theatre. The Gators have a busy schedule planned! Wonder if they can get those Brits to CHOMP?! Representing the University of Florida and Team USA, these students will remember this trip for a lifetime!
Be sure to look for the Gator Marching Band, especially, Madeleine and Bailey, as you root for Team USA in the Olympics! Go Gators and Go USA!
For more information on the University of Florida Marching Band or to make a donation, please go to www.UFBands.ufl.edu