Marching Mizzou to travel to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day parade

Saturday, February 25, 2012 | 4:10 p.m. CST; updated 8:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 25, 2012

COLUMBIA — MU fight songs will be heard throughout the streets of Dublin this St. Patrick's Day.

Two-hundred-forty members of Marching Mizzou will depart on March 14 to perform in the 2012 St. Patrick's Festival Parade in Dublin, as well as the Limerick International Marching Band Competition in Limerick.

Watch Marching Mizzou rehearse

Who: Marching Mizzou

What: Rehearsals for the 2012 St. Patrick's Festival Parade in Dublin and the Limerick International Marching Band Competition

When: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. March 7, 8, 9 and 12

Where: Marching Mizzou practice field behind Hearnes Center

Rehearsals are open to the public.

Marching ensembles from across the globe will be the musical entertainment in the parade.

To apply for this event, the band created a resume and included videos of parades and halftime shows from the past couple years.

Marching Mizzou found out that it was accepted in January 2011 for the Irish parades, and it has been preparing since then.

For some members, this will be their first time visiting another country. 

“I haven’t been out of the country at all,” said Jonathon Shipman, MU junior and drumline captain. “I’m from Dallas, Texas, and I’ve never even been to Mexico. I never thought I’d get to go to Europe.”

As for the instruments, some will have to be checked, while others, such as trumpets, will be counted as carry-on bags. Smaller instruments will be placed in band members' luggage. Shipman said drums will be loaded onto a truck that will transport them to the airport, where they will be loaded onto the plane.

“It’s kind of a hassle, especially being in a foreign country,” Shipman said of transporting instruments. “It’s always an experience just going to other colleges for away games, so going to another country will be an experience in itself.”

The band will arrive in Dublin the morning of March 15. 

"I'm looking forward to students experiencing cultures from around the world," said Brad Snow, director of Marching Mizzou. "Even though we're using Marching Mizzou as the vehicle, their experiences with music allow them to travel the world and to see how universal a language that music is and see how other people around the world approach music."

This parade, which will begin at noon March 17, is expected to have about 550,000 spectators, including the president of Ireland and the lord mayor of Dublin, according to the event website.

“I’ve never performed in an event this large,” said Alex Higgins, MU senior and trumpet section leader.

Higgins performed with the concert band in China for about 10,000 people during his sophomore year and has performed at bowl games with the marching band, but he said those are “nothing compared to the parade.”

Snow said the band will be playing all the "Mizzou traditionals," including the "Missouri Waltz."

On March 18, the band will leave Dublin and travel to Limerick to compete in the Limerick International Marching Band Competition. Snow said this isn't a competition for Marching Mizzou, but rather an exhibition.

"We're the novelty group in the entire competition because we're the only American college marching band," Snow said.

Marching Mizzou members will also have opportunities for sight-seeing. 

Snow said funding for the trip has mostly been done by students. The cost is $2,400 per band member. One way students have raised money is by soliciting their hometown businesses. 

The theme for the 2012 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade is “How? What? Why?” and will “explore the wonder and curiosity of science,” according to the event website.

Irish pageant companies will address an array of science-related questions that many children ask, such as how a rainbow is formed, and present them in an entertaining way during the parade.

Other participating bands in the parade come from Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and Russia, as well as U.S. bands from Georgia, Indiana, California, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

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