Colony marching band to play at St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland

Staff surprise students with announcement at school assembly
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 11:45 AM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Colony High School’s marching band — known as THEE Northern Sound — is heading to Ireland in March 2025.

The esteemed group of high schoolers has been invited to play at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, adding to the already decorated list of places students have traveled during their high school careers.

“We did the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, we’ve performed at the Rose Parade, the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City, grand nationals,” Director of Music for Colony High School Jamin Burton said.

While Burton has known about the invitation for about a week, he decided to keep the good news under wraps until a Thursday afternoon school assembly. After celebrating a state championship of the cross-country running team, and the first Division I state football title in the school’s history. Burton called all the members of the marching band down to the center of the gym while the drumline played them in.

“The kids don’t know,” Burton said. “We’ve kept it to just a need-to-know basis.”

The entire school counted down from 10 before a projector screen revealed a green slate telling the kids they were going to Ireland. Confetti from canons rained down on the students as cheers echoed throughout the gymnasium.

Freshman Calvin Tucker didn’t suspect a thing.

“I had no idea whatsoever. I — nobody told me,” Tucker stated. “I was incredibly excited to hear the news because the trip is happening in 2025, and I’m class of 2026.”

The marching band’s travel resume is extensive for such a small town high school, but over the last few years trips have been sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students like senior Lauren Porcello haven’t been able to travel at all during her time at Colony because of it, and won’t travel to Ireland in 2025 because she’ll no longer be attending the high school. However, that hasn’t stopped her from being genuinely happy that her younger classmates will be afforded the opportunity.

“I think it’s gonna be a great opportunity, and I think everyone’s gonna have a really good time,” Porcello said. “I’m really glad to be a part of a generation that helped pave the path for the younger people.”

It’s a sentiment that Burton shares, after working 19 years at the school and seeing the marching band program grow over the last 18 years.

“The future of the program is built on the kids that already are leaving,” Burton stated. “I’m really proud of those seniors and juniors for sticking it out and for keeping us on a strong foundation for the future years to come.”