Slippery Rock University’s marching band is traveling across the pond to participate in this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, Ireland.
SRU’s band- The Marching Pride- was invited to make the trip by Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr. Bands from all over the world will march the nearly two-mile long parade route through the streets of Dublin on Sunday, March 17 in front of an estimated 500,000 spectators.
“They’re not only going to experience a new culture, they’re going to represent Slippery Rock, the University, the state of Pennsylvania and the United States of America on an international stage,” Jonathan Helmick, assistant professor of music and director of bands, said in a news release.
Mikayla Ridgeway, a sophomore early childhood-special education major from South Park, is one of the band’s three drum majors.
“I already know it’s going to be one of the best parts of my college career,” Ridgeway said. “I come from an Irish family so I’m very excited to go, and this is about as big as you can get in terms of parades.”
Bands from all over the world will march the nearly two-mile long parade route through the streets of Dublin in front of an estimated 500,000 spectators.
“It’s non-stop and competitive,” Ridgeway said. “That’s a long distance to march so we’re starting to prepare for the physical challenges of the route.”
The band begun practicing for the Ireland parade back in November, and rehearsals ramped up during the spring semester, with four hours of dedicated rehearsing per week and students returning to campus early from winter break and spring break to squeeze in more practice.
“The style of marching (for this event) is different than what the students are used to,” Helmick said, who noted that field marching with a drum corps, or “corps style,” is what the band is used to performing at halftime shows during football season. “Parade marching is very different. You have to think about gate turns and dressing lines in different ways.”
Helmick said the Pride will reveal a new parade performance for the event that will be much different than what they would do for a typical homecoming or community parade.
While oversees, the band will also participate in the Limerick International Band Championship on March 18, which is a competitive parade featuring more than 1,300 musicians.
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