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Ola packs up to cross pond

Band heads for ‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’

Students at Ola High School helped to load a truck with musical instruments, in preparation for the school band’s upcoming trip to London, England. The band is set to perform in a parade there, on New Year’s Day.

Students at Ola High School helped to load a truck with musical instruments, in preparation for the school band’s upcoming trip to London, England. The band is set to perform in a parade there, on New Year’s Day.

Members of the Ola High School Marching Mustangs are steps closer to performing on the world stage, as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration in London, England, on New Year’s Day 2012.

The award-winning band is sure to create another hallmark for itself in the coming days with its appearance in the upcoming New Year’s Day Parade in London. Ola students helped pack a trailer full of musical instruments back on Dec. 14, following weeks of rehearsal to fine-tune the performance that helps kick off the London Olympics in 2012.

DHL Express is shipping the band’s instruments across the pond to get them there in time for the big performance. Officials with the logistics company plan to transport more than 1,000 pieces of band instruments and equipment belonging to 15 high schools and universities, from around the United States, that will be participating in the Jan. 1, 2012 parade.

DHL Spokeswoman Kristy Kennedy said the instruments will be shipped in five, 53-foot tractor trailer trucks to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. She said the instruments will be placed into about 20 shrink-wrapped containers to be uplifted this week and delivered to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Kennedy said the invited bands will pick up their instruments at the DHL warehouse in East Midlands, U.K., on Dec. 26, in time to rehearse for the London New Year’s Day Parade.

The parade is themed around the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London, and Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Organizers project that more than 10,000 performers, representing 20-plus countries worldwide, will perform for more than half a million spectators along the two-mile route, and some 200 million television viewers in one of the year’s first, and largest parades.

School officials said the parade invitation given to Ola in the fall of 2010, is the band’s most prestigious honor since the school opened in 2006. The young band is led by directors, Todd Manson and Matthew “Bo” Sodders.

Band members at the east McDonough school will not be alone in ringing in the new year as an elite high school marching band from Henry County. At a neighboring school in McDonough, band members also are preparing to perform in front of a national audience of thousands.

The Union Grove High School Marching Wolverines were invited to perform during half-time in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, on Jan. 3, 2012. The band, led by director, Stan Kramer, was invited back for the 2012 Sugar Bowl, in January 2011. The band also performed in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

To learn more about the London New Year’s Day Parade, visit www.londonparade.co.uk.