The Fort Myers High School Marching Band prepares to cross the pond for the New Year’s Day Parade in London



A group of high school students prepares to parade on the international scene. London leaders crossed the pond to formally request the Fort Myers High School Marching Band to take part in the city’s 2023 New Year’s Day Parade.

The parade is massive, twice as many performers as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and broadcast across the world, but it’ll cost students a pretty penny to cross the pond.

Organizers of the London New Year’s Day Parade traveled more than 4,000 miles to deliver the special invitation to Fort Myers band manager Lederian Townsend.

“A lot of kids, it will be their first time leaving the country, so it will be an eye-opening experience culturally, obviously financially but also spiritually, to go out and see things being done on the other side of the world,” said Townsend.

Over 10,000 performers will fill the streets of London on January 1, 2023. Millions of eyes will watch them perform live and on TV.

“I didn’t think it was real because it’s the greatest journey like this, it just sounds out of this world. It’s gonna be so cool,” said freshman saxophonist Tori McGuigin.

Junior Grace Basey, a dancer in the group, said, “It’s an amazing opportunity for us to even have the experience of going somewhere that isn’t America.”

But that comes with a hefty price tag. $425,000 for the 125 students to make the trip.

“Spread the word because we’re going to need a lot of fundraising help,” McGuigin said.

But this isn’t the first rodeo for the Fort Myers High School Marching Band. They raised funds to participate in New Year’s Eve parades in London in 2007 and 2017.

Thus, students are confident that they will be able to enjoy this trip of a lifetime.

These children have 13 months’ notice to raise the money they need, which is $3,400 per person.

The group will hold a holiday concert on December 10 and sell poinsettia plants in an effort to raise some of the money needed.

You can also help with fundraising.

The school released a statement explaining how you can help the band get to London:

The cost to attend this once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity is $3,400 per student. We hope the community will contribute to help us achieve our goal. We also encourage donations of all sizes from area businesses and commercial organizations.

As part of its fundraising efforts, the Fort Myers High School Music Department is hosting a holiday concert on Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. in the Fort Myers High School Auditorium to raise funds to participate in the famous London Parade. Tickets are $15 at the door for general admission and $20 for VIP seating. Families and children are welcome.

Monetary contributions should be made payable to FMHS Greenwave Band Boosters, Inc. and sent to Fort Myers High School, ATTN: Greenwave Band Boosters, Music Department, 2635 Cortez Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Red and white poinsettias for $20 per plant are also sold by the group. Orders including color selection and check must be received by November 20 at the school address. They will be available for pickup at the Holiday Concert on December 10.

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