PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Rome is calling the West Boca Bulls!
Their high school marching band and choir are heading overseas to perform in Rome for the new year, and a very special opportunity is awaiting them.
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The West Boca Raton Community High School Bulls are drumming up something special.
"I feel like, together, when you play music with other people, it empowers yourself and the people around you. And I feel like, together, we make our group a real family," said marching band member Gian Duran, who plays the snare drum.
And now, they're taking that family overseas to perform in Italy.
"Just unreal," Duran said. "Every time I think about it, I get all happy because it’s so exciting and I can’t wait to just experience it."
Last September, the West Boca Raton High School vanguard band received its invitation to play in the Rome New Year's Day parade 2024, after previously performing in the sister parade in London.
"We love playing here in Boca and playing for local people, of course, But to think about playing in Europe, we’re gonna be playing in a church built in the 17th century, walking down streets from earlier than that," band director Larry Shane said.
And this time, the choir is going, too, for a very special performance.
"I was just like, no way. This is so cool. I’m so excited," choir member Lauren Lockwood said.
"When they said we are going to Rome to perform at the Vatican, it was just jaw dropping," choir member Emily Santana added.
Santana never thought high school choir would take her to Italy to sing in one of the most historic and iconic places in the world.
"Opportunities like this never come by. So the fact that we have this outstanding opportunity to perform in the Vatican and also support the band, it is a surreal experience," Santana said.
"Singing some songs in Latin, some in German. German carols. A lot of carols in different language," Lockwood said.
There is one thing they are all looking forward to, besides the performance, of course.
"Mostly the food," Duran said.
"The food. A lot of things," Santana added.
"We do get a lot of three-course meals," Lockwood said.
"Everyone says the food, and the food is great, too. But I’m just looking forward to being over there and playing. Sharing our music," Shane said.
Sharing the West Boca way for the world to see.
"Show what West Boca is made of out in another country. It’s super awesome," Lockwood said.
The trip costs $3,500 per person and they did fundraising for the past year to help every student who wants to go to Rome.
150 students and 50 chaperones are going for eight nights.
In addition to the New Year's Day parade, performances will also take place in the San Giovanni Battista Dei Fiorentini Basilica, a church located in Rome that was originally built in the 17th century.
The band will also be performing in the town of Frascati, located approximately 12 miles southeast of Rome. And the choir will be performing in St. Peter's Basilica inside of the Vatican.
You can watch the parade by clicking here.
West Boca Raton Community High School isn't the only Palm Beach County program heading overseas for the new year.
The Park Vista Community High School Striking Cobra marching band and symphonic band will perform in London, along with the Forest Hill Community High School Dimension 20 chorus.