School colors of red, black and white decorations filled the gymnasium of El Roble Intermediate School last Thursday, as the band and color guard played an orchestral introduction for Duncan Sandys.
Sandys, former Lord Mayor of Westminster and great grandson of Winston Churchill, with members of the British Parliament, were in town to cordially invite the middle school band and color guard team to perform at the London New Year’s Parade Jan. 1, 2020.
The band, which will be among roughly 8,000 parade participants from 20 countries, will be the only junior high school band featured in the London parade.
Under Band Director Taylor Estep, in his second year at the school, the band has been doing well in competition.
“I always just hope that whatever we’re doing… they’re giving 100 percent,” Estep said. “We’re a competitive program, so I don’t tell my kids that we need to win, I tell them that we need to give it our best, and always work toward that goal,” Estep said.
Since his arrival at El Roble in 2017, the marching band has doubled in size from 70 students to 140.
Next year, he expects it to grow to 200 students.
Estep said he never expected such an amazing opportunity would present itself.
“We didn’t apply for it,” Estep said. “They sought us out. They picked us.
“It means so much to them because they know someone on the outside is recognizing their talent.”
Band member and El Roble student Max Dvorak has been involved in music since he was about 3, when his father gave him a saxophone.
“Being a part of this band is a very big thing right now,” Dvorak said.
“What we’ve achieved here is probably one of the greatest things I think any band in this community has ever done.”
Christina Aguirre, who’s daughter is in color guard, is excited about the London opportunity.
“I know that the arts and music can enhance other features kids have,” she said.
To make the London trip a reality, the band needs to raise $740,000, or $3,700 per performer.
Band boosters have embarked on a multifaceted fund raising campaign. Special fundraising events will be held regularly for the next 16 months.
Ashley Mubiru can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.