SHREVEPORT -- The West Monroe High School Rebel Band departed for England Friday afternoon to take part in one of the largest parades in the world.
On Friday afternoon, the band flew out from Shreveport Regional Airport to take part in the New Year's Day Parade in downtown London, now just less than a week away. The band made it safely to London.
Other locals traveling to London for the parade are girls from Briarfield Academy and Tallalah, Courtney Braswell and Taylor Howard. They are performing in the parade with the All-American Varsity Cheerleading Squad.
The groups are now touring London before the big day next Wednesday.
WMHS Band Director Robert Freeman said this parade is even larger than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which brings in about 500,000 people. The New Year's Day Parade will be broadcast across Europe.
Students and parents attending the trip had to cover a $4,000 travel cost.
The parade route is less than a mile, but rolls through historic parts of downtown London. The band will also perform at the famous Cadogan Hall, home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
This chance for the band came a couple of years ago when the band was noticed by judges at the Chik-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA. Those judges had connections to London, and asked the marching band to apply for a spot in the New Year's Parade. One thing led to another and eventually, in November 2012, the Lord Mayor of Westminster flew to West Monroe's doorstep with an official invitation.
The band has already shipped off their instruments beforehand to be checked by customs and now they are on the way to perform in what many of the band students are calling the opportunity of a lifetime.