In March, Southern Miss will send roughly 180 members of its 300-person marching band overseas to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.
The Pride of Mississippi Marching Band previously marched in this parade over a decade ago. In 2013, only three bands from the United States were asked to participate.
The parade will take place in the streets of Ireland’s capital on the last day of Dublin’s four-day St. Patrick’s festival held March 14-17.
For the band to be considered to perform in the parade, Director of the Pride James Standland had to first send photographs, videos and a resume of the band to the directors of the event.
He was then given word that the Pride was most likely going to be chosen to participate. From there he was invited to a sight visit to see the parade in action for himself.
“It blew me away the number of people who attended the parade,” he said. “It’s like the Macy’s Day Parade for Ireland.”
On March 24, just a week after viewing the parade with his very own eyes, Standland received official word from Oisin Quinn, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, that the Pride had been chosen to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“Performing on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland’s capital is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we are all going to cherish and remember for the rest of our lives,” said Molly Evans, a freshman music education major who plays the flute and piccolo.
In preparation for the parade, The Pride will hold roughly four or five rehearsals before the event in March.
“I plan to have a tune specifically for us when we go there,” Strandland said.
Due to the recent budget cuts, much of the expense of the trip has fallen upon the students.
Andrew Hunckler, a senior music education major and co-captain of the drumline, said the students have formed a committee to help create strategic fundraising plans.
“Some ideas have been brought up about doing a percentage share night at (Raising) Cane’s and even a 5K,” Hunckler said. “So far the expense has been all on us. We have a payment plan that allows us to pay in installments throughout the months leading up to the trip.”
The students will spend seven days in Ireland, touring Dublin, Limerick, castles, the Cliffs of Moher and many other sites.
Senior music education major and clarinet section leader Donell Wilson is most excited to experience the food in Ireland.
“I love making my own little college cuisines,” he said. “So I look forward to exploring a new culture, meeting new people and learning about what’s on the dinner table in Ireland.”
The Pride encourages students to take advantage of their profit shares and participate in their 5K event. For many students this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and any support would be greatly appreciated.
The festival will be broadcast on Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE and streamed live on its website. The link will be available in 2015.
For more information, visit the School of Music Facebook page or the Pride of Mississippi Band Facebook page.