The Rider Raider Band had an enthusiastic audience during the big cross-town rivalry game with Wichita Falls High School. However, they are gearing-up for a royal one. The band was asked to perform for HRH Queen Elizabeth II of England for her Jubilee Celebration New Year's Day Parade on Jan 1, 2012.
The young musicians will take a 9-day trip across the pond. It is expected to cost around $3000 per student. Fundraising is already under way. "We think it's such an educational opportunity for them that we have committed to raising the money," said Loy Studer, Director of Band and Orchestra for Rider.
The official invitation ceremony was Friday evening, just before the game. The Parade Director and the Lord Mayor of Westminster will be on hand for the celebration.
Newschannel 6 got exclusive access to a Rider Band tradition - "Mum Day" - where the only sound around the school is the echo of the marching band. "All 1800 (students) are quiet all day long... The band goes around on that day since we cant do any instruction to each wing or pod of the building and plays the fight song to try to get everyone fired up. Its kind of crazy, you have kids hanging out the window and kind of clapping along but not making noise," said Studer.
Among the thunder of the fight song was excitement about the Royal adventure. "I don't think that everyone has it processed through their head that we're going to London,"said Color Guard Emily Fuccio. Sitting next to her, Baritone Sheldon Yeakley, a Sophomore, agreed. "Its a pretty big deal, most people don't even get to see (Her Majesty), we're actually getting to see her in person and were going to entertain her," he said. "I was just in shock because I never thought we would get to do something like this," said Haley Woolsey, the Band's Drum Major.
The band has several fund raisers in the works to raise the money. Studer says he is counting on the Texoma Community to come together so the group can go. "We're proud to be representing our city and our state," he said.