WELLINGTON, Fla. — A local high school band is getting ready for its biggest performance yet.
The Wellington Community High School Mighty Wolverine Sound marching band is heading to London to play in the famous New Year's Day parade.
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Practice, practice, practice. It's what the Wellington High School marching band lives everyday.
But this time, the stakes have never been higher.
"It's been a lot of work," senior Anden Toale said. "We definitely had to put in a lot of time and effort to make sure the music sounds good and our marching technique is on point. We have to look good. We’re going to impress people internationally. It’s a brand new thing."
75 band members are taking their talents across the pond to perform in London's New Year's Day parade and festival. Wellington High School is one of just 20 marching bands from the U.S.
"I’ve been waiting for this moment for what felt like forever, and now I’m really happy it’s actually happening," senior Adriana Takvorian said.
"It still doesn’t seem real to me yet," band director Mary Oser.
Oser said this opportunity is a long-time coming for the Mighty Wolverine Sound marching band.
"We have been invited off and on over the past 15 years. And finally in 2020, we felt we could accept. And they came and gave us our invitation in-person. And a month later, the pandemic happened," Oser said.
So since then, these musicians have been playing, marching, and hoping for another chance.
"This band is one of the best in Florida and there’s a lot of pride being a part of it," junior Tobias Smith said.
The parade is about two miles long and it's a lot colder in London than in South Florida. So the band is working on stamina to make sure they can march the whole time.
"I'm not used to being cold so I'm stocking up on big jackets and things like that," Takvorian said.
The $350,000 trip doesn't come easy. Through fundraisers, overwhelming community support, and a little help from their friends, they are making dreams come true together.
"I think it shows our dedication. We’ve worked hard for this and we deserve it," Takvorian said.
The London parade will air on PBS locally on New Year's Day at 7 a.m. 10,000 participants from 28 countries around the world take part in the event.
"It's very gratifying to see the support we’ve gotten," Oser said.
The band, including 33 chaperones, will spend several days in London sightseeing in addition to playing in the parade.