CCU’s Chanticleer Regiment accepts invitation to London’s New Year’s Day Parade
CCU President Michael T. Benson; Claudia Bornholdt, dean of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts; and LNYDP officials participated in the announcement on Saturday, Nov. 20, following the band’s performance during the University’s alumni tailgate in Blanton Park prior to the Chanticleers’ football game.
After LNYDP leaders popped the question to the band, Garrett Griffin, assistant professor in CCU’s Department of Music and director of the Chanticleer Regiment, accepted the invitation enthusiastically in the midst of surprised band members. In attendance from London were Bob Bone, the parade’s founder and executive director; Steve Summers, chair of the London Mayors’ Association and former Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster; and Bill Northern and Jonathan Whaley, senior directors of international participation.
The ceremony began with a performance of “Teal Gate” and “God Save the Queen,” followed by welcoming remarks from Bone and Summers. Once the official invitation had been issued, Chanticleer Regiment students broke out in cheers and tears of joy. For many of the students, the journey to London will be their first international travel experience.
“We are very excited for this opportunity, both for the students and the University,” said Griffin. “To be able to perform on an international stage, such as the London New Year’s Day Parade, is an experience this community and the band members will remember forever.”
Bornholdt said: “Being invited to participate in the LNYDP is an honor and a recognition of the high quality of our band program at CCU.” She was able to share the news with Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy during the football game and reported that “Both Mayor Bellamy and I agree that this event will bring national and international exposure to the city of Conway and its University.”
The LNYDP, which has a five-decade history, draws a crowd of more than 500,000 for the live event and reaches up to 600 million viewers around the world. The 2023 event will be broadcast live in the U.S. on PBS.
To make a donation in support of the Chanticleer Regiment’s trip to London and to watch the official invitation video, visit https://www.coastal.edu/music/chanticleerregimentgoestolondon/.