The Jacksonville State University Southerners learned in Summer 2010 that the band had been selected to perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade 2012. On September 23, 2010, a representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited JSU to hand deliver the invitation, with a twist… the Southerners would lead the parade!
Although an invitation from Her Majesty is considered a great honor in itself, the 2012 parade is even more significant because it is the first official event for both Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.
The Honourable Roger Bramble, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, accompanied by Mr. Robert Bone, executive director and founder of London’s New Year’s Day Parade, along with Mrs. Geraldine Bone, delivered the invitation. The entourage toured campus, met city and area leaders and students, and heard a short performance from the Southerners before extending the official invitation.
To be considered for the invitation, a music program must be nominated to the Selection Committee by a previous participant or a regional director of music. A group cannot apply and no audition tapes are submitted. Dr. Paula Crider, Dr. Tom Duffy, Dr. Tom Fraschillo, Gary Locke and Tim Lautzenheiser, all of whom are well-known in the national and international marching band communities, recommended the Southerners.
In recognition of an unparalleled reputation for outstanding performance abilities; the Patrons and the Organizing Committee of the New Year’s Day Parade and Festival – London, in association with Youth Music of the World, the Lord Lieutenancy of Greater London, The City of Westminster, and the London Mayors’ Association, take great pleasure in extending an invitation to the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners Alabama, USA to participate in The 26th annual New Year’s Day Parade and Festival, to be held in London, England between December 27, 2011 and January 4, 2012.
The Lord Lieutenancy of Greater London
High Sherriff of Greater London 1999-2000
Lord Mayor of The City of Westminster 1985-86
Patron and Founder of The London Parade Festival
Of the honor, Bodiford said: “I am so proud of our students. They amaze me each day. They work so hard, in the heat on that hot parking lot, and keep a fantastic attitude. I feel so fortunate to be associated with the Marching Southerners. This honor definitely proves that hard work, a great attitude and discipline pay off!”After the invitation was issued, the real work of getting the band to London began. It will cost just shy of $3,000 per member to get the group of students and staff to London and back, so the Southerners have been raising funds ever since.
For more information on the Southerners from Jacksonville State University, please visit www.marchingsoutherners.org.