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The Concert in Trafalgar Square

What a difference a day makes!

Day two in London brought a more rested group of Southerners and an ample dose of that famous London rain and chill. Fortunately, before the rain set in, we had time to check out some local landmarks and forge ahead to the highlight of our day–  our concert in historic Trafalgar Square!

As our tour buses navigated the narrow streets, we thrilled to see real views like this one we’ve seen on so many postcards…

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Even though the Queen was not home, we didn’t think she’d mind if we stopped for a few photo opportunities at Buckingham Palace.

One group of us cheesed it up for our amazing tour guide, Maitland…

while JSU’s own first couple, Dr. and Mrs. Meehan, reenacted Prince William and new bride Kate’s kiss so daughter Carol Grace could make a photo for the Meehan family album.

Dr. Meehan then took a moment for a photo with our amazing drum majors, Lauren and Daniel.

Then it was time to move on to the audience that awaited us at Trafalgar Square! In addition to the often photographed fountain and Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square now has a countdown clock to the 2012 London Olympics. Here we are, making our way past it to our performance area in front of the National Gallery.

And here are some of us in the pre-concert drizzle, waiting for our moment to make it a sunny day for the people of London who graciously invited us to join them for New Year’s…

We were greeted by some fantastic fans, including some we brought with us…

And some new ones we hadn’t yet met.

They filled the square, standing in the drizzle as they cheered on a band from a town they’d never heard of.

They represented many nations and spoke so many languages.

They could have gone anywhere else in this grand old tourism town, and yet they chose to stand in the mist and share with us the universal language of music.

It warmed our hearts!

Because they stayed with us, we brought our best to them.

Our best smiles…

Our highest kicks…

Our grandest gestures…

Our best spins…

And our sweetest notes.

We played some of our favorites, and we hope some of our favorites become theirs.

We played Salvation and  Southerners Special, Firebird and Fever.

They listened from behind us, on the steps of the National Gallery…

And in front of us…

And did we mention that it warmed our hearts?

When it was over, our new friends hung around for a bit and we had some more fun.

We saw a future Ballerina in the crowd…

Who watched the current Ballerinas grant media interviews…

And pose with some admirers…

All in the name of world peace.

And did we mention that this warmed our hearts?

We can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds as we end 2011 in London.

Happy New Year’s Eve from the Marching Southerners and the Ballerinas!

What a Day, Night, Whatever!

We made it! The Southerners have landed in London and this old town may never be the same!

We began arriving as early as 6 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29. As of this writing at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 30, the last three students were trickling in.

The first day was a whirlwind, but our Southerners are a determined and tireless bunch. This was evident to everyone in the Hilton London Metropole last night as, after probably no more than eight hours sleep in 24 hours for the whole group, our Southerners still managed to stage a rehearsal in the hotel that had people on every level of the hotel looking into the open lobby stairwell, wondering where that amazing rendition of Stars Fell on Alabama was coming from!

Excuse the quality of this video. It was very late and this blogger was very sleepy, but here’s an example:

And here are some other highlights of the journey thus far:

A friendly face met us at the airport. Meet James, our guide. He and Emma, our other guide for our trip, have been fantastic!

And here’s our hotel, the Hilton London Metropole. Very swank and in a great location, with close access to the ‘tube.’ (That’s what they call the subway here). Upon arrival we learned that our rooms were not yet ready.

So… we did what any good tourists would do. We dropped our bags and went sightseeing.

One of the first sights we saw in the tube was a sign for the parade!

After consulting a map…

We hit a few of the highlights…

Finally, it was time to check in!

After a quick orientation and a great meal

We got busy with our first London rehearsal

It was a full day, or two, that left us feeling a bit like this

but there’s no rest for a Southerner!

Next up: Our first day of sightseeing and our concert in Trafalgar Square.

Stay tuned!

The Show that Started it All

Later today, the Southerners will finally board our planes for the trip of a lifetime. It’s hard to believe the day is finally here!

As we pack our bags and ready ourselves for our red eye flight to the UK, we’d like to leave you with video of the show that got the Southerners noticed by the London New Year’s Day Parade Selection Committee and began this amazing journey. The production was our 2009 show, Of Thee I Sing. The show is a celebration of the spirit of America: A country tried by the fires of war, tempered by the hardships of depression, yet fortified in the strength of honor, sacrifice, and pride. When the clouds of division and differences are broken by the dawn’s early light, there we stand as One. We are America…and we are proud.

We’ve never been more ready and excited to represent JSU, the State of Alabama, and the U.S.! We’ll check in when we arrive in London!

JSU Marching Southerners Of Thee I Sing, Part 1

JSU Marching Southerners Of Thee I Sing, Part 2

 

 

 

How to Watch the Parade

London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2012 will be featured on a delayed stream on a major broadcast channel.

So if you have loved ones in the event – and your local station won’t be broadcasting the historic happening help is at hand.

The parade will be streamed at www.information.tv at 05.00 EST on Jan 2 and 05.00 and 14.00 EST on Jan 3 and at 14.30 EST on Sunday Jan 8th (CLICK ON SHOWCASE 2 FOR THE FINAL TWO TRANSMISSIONS).

 

 

A Jolly Good Playlist

Are you wondering what the Southerners will be performing while we’re in the UK? We think you’ll recognize some of these Southerners standards. And of course, what is a Diamond Jubilee without Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, a tune fit for the Queen?

For the Trafalgar Square Concert:

Salvation – Stars Fell – Cheers 1 – 5 – Dixie 2 – Quilting Party – Rooster – ESPN – Firebird – Fire – Southerners Special – Fight Fight for the Red and White – All I Do is Win – Fight Song – Hey – Chameleon (With Ola High School Band) – Dies Ire (With Ola High School Band) – God Save the Queen  (With Ola High School Band)

Opening the Parade:

Stars Fell on Alabama – God Save the Queen – Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Along the Parade Route:

JSU Fight Song –  Fight Fight for the Red and White

Final Grandstands Performance:

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend 

New Video- Countdown to London

The Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners have worked tirelessly, preparing for the New Year’s Day Parade in London, England. The Southerners will lead the parade, showcasing their talent and class on a true world stage.

Video by Logan Huggins

How to Support the Southerners

The Southerners perform for a very enthusiastic home crowd at JSU Stadium.

The Southerners have conducted all types of fundraisers for the London trip, from holding flea markets to selling tickets to a dinner event that was graciously sponsored by a local restaurant, Classic on Noble.

Individual donations are also greatly appreciated and may be sent to:

JSU Foundation / Marching Southerners
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265

Please put “Southerners London” in the memo line on your check.

Also, contributions may be made with a major credit card online at www.jsu.edu/giving.

Thank you for your support!