By: Angie Wang
On November 1, 2010, MSJ’s performing arts students were formally invited to the 2011-2012 New Year’s Day Parade and festival in London, England. The students gave a heartwarming welcome to Lady Catherine Longworth, former Lord Mayor of the city of Westminster, London. She came with her husband, John Longworth, and Robert Bone, the executive producer of the event.
During the assembly, MSJ’s marching band, led by Monica Kraft, played their routine march, followed by the orchestra, and chorale’s engaging performance of their musical selections. MSJ’s orchestra was also led by Kraft, and our very own chamber chorale was led by Jason Aucoin.
Bone took the podium first and praised the groups, calling the performance “a musical feast,” and ensuring the members of the Marching Band that “[they] sounded the best [he’s] ever heard, being familiar with the school’s band program,” and stating that he has “never heard a chorale performance with such confidence as that present in the voices of the members of [MSJ’s] chamber chorale.”
After presenting the official invitation to Kraft, Bone spoke about of the students’ visit to London in fifteen months. Bone spoke well of the itinerary planned for their visit and promised that they would not be disappointed with what he has planned. Bone also called the students “Olympians, a title [they] surely deserved, and ambassadors of Fremont, as well as the nation.”
Later in the ceremony, Lady Longworth took the stage and expressed her pleasure in the opportunity she had to be honored with all of the three performances, agreeing with Bone that it had indeed been a “musical feast.” According to its website, The New Year’s Day Parade and Festival in has been dubbed “one of the world’s greatest street shows,” with up to 10,000 performers, three-quarters of a million spectators, and millions of television viewers. The 26th New Year’s Day parade also celebrates and represents the 2012 Olympics in London and, as well as the Diamond Jubilee.
At the reception following the ceremony, Lady Longworth expressed her first impression of Fremont’s atmosphere. “Having only arrived,” she said, “I am quite fond of the environment in which [MSJ] is located. It is very different from London; there are blue skies and open space. London is more of an urbanized city.” When asked about the financial debt in both the UK and the US, Lady Longworth mentioned that she “wasn’t very informed about what was causing the political downfall in the US, but [she] believed the UK had to cut down their spending and make the effort to pay back their debts, while cutting away the use of money for more leisurely purposes.” She ended the conversation on a happier note, saying that weather conditions in London may be cold, but the welcome into the 2011-2012 New Years’ Day Parade and Festival will most definitely be warm.