University of Florida marching band is headed to Ireland for St.Patrick’s day parade

The band was invited to play at the annual St.Patrick's day parade
Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 10:23 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Almost 400 University of Florida band members are heading 4,000 miles to Ireland to play in the annual St.Patrick’s day parade but before they leave, they have to practice one last time.

The band gathered at the gator band field one last time before taking off to Ireland.

“The lord mayor of Dublin and the lord mayor of cork extended the offer to us, I think it was a couple of years ago but the calendar didn’t seem to line up,” said band director Chip Birkner. “They’ve earned every bit of notoriety that they get in the state, in the nation and now we’re going to get to show them off on an international stage.”

They will perform their traditional gator fight songs as well as Irish tunes at the St. Patrick’s festival parade and the 51st international band championship.

“It’s a lot, you know we’ve been doing this every Sunday for the past few weeks,” said band member Nathan Reid. “Our season’s over so everyone here is doing this because they want to go on this trip and they want to be here. So this is all work that we are putting in, we’re not getting graded for this, this is what we want.”

To add the cherry on top, the band will also perform at a standstill concert and get a chance to sightsee.

“I keep telling my friends, I’m a first-generation American so this feels like a big American dream,” said band conductor Luz Perez. “It’s a milestone for me and my family. That’s a beautiful sentiment that I like to think about for myself personally.”

The band will head to Ireland on March 14th and stay for the remainder of spring break, hopefully making their time in the Emerald Isle one to remember.

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