I had a fantastic time with the University of Florida Gator Marching Band on our trip to London where we performed at the Olympics. London is an amazing city, and it was especially fun to see it all decked out for the whole world to see. We’d been talking about this trip since last September, and for it to finally happen was definitely like a dream.
One of the coolest privileges we were given while in London was to perform at the women’s cycling event on the Mall, which is essentially Queen Elizabeth’s driveway leading right up to Buckingham Palace. After the cyclists took off and were well down the racing route, we marched out onto the road and played songs for the large crowd. Our directors made sure to pick songs from bands like The Who and the Beatles, and our biggest hit was of course Hey Jude. While we were there, 148 out of the 220 countries participating in this year’s Olympics were doing live broadcasts, so we can now say for certain that the Gator Nation is everywhere and Gator Band is world famous. It was truly an awe-inspiring experience.
While our main goal for the trip was to perform, our directors also made certain that we were on a vacation as well. I was able to visit Stonehenge (for a geology major like me, a literal dream come true), Bath, see the Lion King Broadway show live on stage, tour the Tower of London to see the crown jewels, ride the Eye, and was given a lot of downtime to explore the city. Being back home in the States now and seeing a lot of these places on TV for Olympics broadcasts is almost strange, and every time I want to say, “Hey, I was just there!”
This trip was truly the trip of a lifetime, and definitely one I will never forget. Go Gators!
Madeleine Richie – University of Florida.