Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ridgeview Band Heads to Dublin for St. Patrick's Parade; the Performers? "We're Going to Ireland, and That's Pretty Rad!"

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ridgeview Band Heads to Dublin for St. Patrick's Parade; the Performers? "We're Going to Ireland, and That's Pretty Rad!"

Article excerpt

Byline: TRACY SPENGLER, County Line correspondent

When most people think of St. Patrick's Day, they think of green. But members of the Ridgeview High School Panthers Marching Band will don sparkling blue and silver uniforms as they participate in the Republic of Ireland at Dublin's St. Patrick's Day Festival Parade on Thursday.

"We're going to get those Irish people to dance!" freshman saxophone and trumpet player Angel Santiago said.

Months of hard work and anticipation are about to come to fruition for the 44 students (approximately half the band) who are headed across the Atlantic to Manchester, England, on Monday. The following day will be spent touring Northern Wales and traversing the Irish Sea on a ferry.

"After we get to Ireland, we'll travel to the town of Wicklow, which will be our home away from home," Ridgeview band director David McGuffin said. "We're actually staying in a 55-bed hostel there. It's been a bit hard to keep on task. It's question after question about the trip, and we've had to deal with district concerts as well. This is a very special event, and the kids are very excited about it."

The invitation to Ireland was received after an audition process that involved peer recommendations, a taped audition and a history of superior performance.

"I'm very excited about this trip," senior trumpet player Cory Stewart said. "It's the first time I've ever been out of the country."

Only four bands from the U.S. are participating, and Ridgeview is the only school from Florida.

"This is the biggest event ever," senior color guard Courtney Turgeon said. "I've never even been on a plane before, and to perform in Dublin, well, that's just really awesome."

The band will play a reggae-rock musical number from the movie Shrek -- Best Years of Our Lives by the Baja Men.

"The idea is to make people get up and really dance in the streets," McGuffin said. "We have selected a very upbeat and fun song."

Band members have worked hard to raise their own funds for this tour.

"We've been able to put together a great travel package at an amazingly low $1,100 per student," McGuffin said. …

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