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Striking an international chord

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Hickory Ridge High School marching band earns invitation to perform in London, England at the New Year’s Day Parade

By Christie Barlow
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The Hickory Ridge High School band has earned an abundance of honors this year and recently garnered itself a few more.

As a whole, the Hickory Ridge High School Marching Band received an invitation to perform in London, England at the New Year’s Day Parade-London.


Hickory Ridge will represent the state as the only marching band from North Carolina who will perform in the parade.


“For us to represent Harrisburg, the kids have a great sense of pride,” said Chris White, the Hickory Ridge band director. “Hickory Ridge is a Harrisburg community school; for them to represent Harrisburg, from their view, is pretty exciting.”

White originally submitted an application to the parade, but never expected to be accepted. When a fax came through from Buckingham Palace, he remembers standing in awe staring at the page. It seemed unreal to receive a letter addressed to him from Buckingham Palace, he said.

After the initial shock wore off, White and his students are eagerly anticipating the trip to London. More than 10,000 performers from 20 different countries will take part in the New Year’s Day celebration. The more than half a million people expected to attend will be a much different audience than the band is used to, White said.

“I don’t think anything really compares to this,” White said. “We’ve competed and done very well, but that’s kind of in our own backyard. Then, to be thrown into the mix with bands from California, Brazil, wherever; it’s a little different then performing for your mom or dad.”

With the parade a year away, the band is preparing to kick off their fundraising drive. The trip to London will cost about $2,600 per person, and White is hoping they can raise enough money to help offset the cost for students.

“We have some kids that really want to go, but aren’t sure if they will be able to fund it,” he said. “Anything will be helpful. Nothing’s too big or too small when you’re trying to raise those kinds of funds.”

In addition to the group honors, individual members of Hickory Ridge’s Band recently received honors of their own.

Five of the school’s band members were named to the South Central All-District Band. Alfred Anderson, Jacob Foster, Sean Gallagher, Dylan Ward and Jonathan Wiseman all represented Hickory Ridge High School at the All-District Clinic last weekend. Foster, Gallagher and Ward, who earned first chair at the South Central competition, will go on to represent the school at the All-State competition.

“This was the first time I ever auditioned and I made it,” Wiseman said. “I was pretty surprised; I couldn’t believe I actually made it. It makes me feel like I’m a good player.”

In order to receive the honor, each student had to play a prepared piece of music, scales and a piece of music they’d never seen before. Based on that performance, judges selected the All-District members. Once selected, the All-District members were ranked in order by instrument. Foster, Gallagher and Ward received top honors being named first-chair, while Wiseman was 10th chair, and Anderson was 13th chair.

“I was kind of excited to go in there,” Ward said. “You’ve been working for it ever since last year, it’s time to show off. It makes you feel like all your hard work paid off.”

• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.


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