Las Vegas Sun

November 16, 2018

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Foothill band to play in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day

Beyond the Sun

The Foothill High School marching band will spend St. Patrick's Day in Dublin to perform in the Irish capital's annual St. Patrick's Festival parade.

The group of 58 students and 37 adults will leave March 13 for Galway Airport in western Ireland, where they will begin one week in the country.

In addition to the parade, the musicians will play two concerts — one in Galway and another in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

The band was invited to Dublin in December 2007, when Director Travis Pardee was at a conference in Chicago and was introduced to the organizer of the festival's musical activities. Pardee and Assistant Director Nick Waters flew to Dublin for the parade last year to decide whether it was a good trip for their students.

"It's a really exciting place to be for that holiday," Pardee said.

The students have spent the past year raising the $2,200 apiece cost. It's relatively inexpensive for the band's first international trip, Pardee said, and Ireland has the added benefit of being an English-speaking nation with a culture and food that are somewhat familiar.

Foothill won't be the only American band or the only high school band in the parade, the director said. Last year, of 18 bands that marched in the parade, 15 were from the United States, and about half of those were high school bands.

Ireland, he said, has few marching bands. It's not part of the culture there.

"They don't play American football, so there is no halftime situation where you need entertainment," Pardee said.

The band will play a medley that includes "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the 1.7-mile parade route.

"Other American bands do Sousa marches," he said. "We decided to do something different."

After the parade, the students will see a Gaelic football game.

"It seems pretty intense," said Erin Sinanian, a senior saxophone player who will be making the trip. "They use no pads."

Sinanian said she is excited about the trip but a little nervous about the performance at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"If you don't have the right tone, the notes last forever," she said. "It's intimidating. It should be fun, though."

Jean Reid Norman can be reached at 990-2658 or [email protected].

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