The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Marching Mocs will head to London when the calendar flips from 2023 to 2024.
The Marching Mocs will be officially invited to participate in the London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival during a ceremony taking place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, in the UTC Fine Arts Center’s Roland Hayes Concert Hall.
Representatives from the London Parade office, including parade founder and chair Bob Bone and Senior Patron Duncan Sandys—former Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster and the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill—are scheduled to deliver the in-person invitation.
The 38th edition of the London New Year’s Day Parade is expected to have more than 8,000 performers and a street audience of more than 500,000.
The parade will be streamed live worldwide and televised in the U.S. on PBS stations.
“It’s a huge honor for us to get this invitation,” said UTC Director of Bands Randall Coleman. “The first band at the University of Chattanooga was in 1923, so receiving this invitation that ties into our 100th year is very cool.
“We feel that our band is one of the best-kept secrets in higher education, especially in our region, and to have this chance to perform on an international stage and put the word out about UTC across the world is a great opportunity for us.”
While in London, Marching Mocs students will have the opportunity to participate in an educational program that will take them to museums, landmarks and locations of architectural and artistic interest. Several of London’s most historic concert venues are used for festival concerts.
“When we announced to the students that we were going to be invited, it’s one of those moments that I’ll always remember,” Mr. Coleman said. “They were so excited. They were so energetic. There was this genuine excitement and shock and it was something really special.”
To defray costs and allow all members of the band to make the trip, a custom Marching Mocs London Trip give link
was created by the UTC Division of Advancement.
“We’re hoping we can get enough donations to make it possible to take everybody,” Mr. Coleman said. “It’s seven days in London, it’s a trans-Atlantic flight and it’s expensive. We hope to get the cost down through donations and things like that so everybody can go.”
Mr. Coleman said alumni and friends would be offered the opportunity to travel with the band and accompany the students on tours of London’s historic West End, the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and a River Thames boat trip.
“We are excited to have some of the UTC Band alumni joining us on this trip that celebrates the rich history of the UTC Bands,” he said.
To learn more about the annual London New Year’s Day Parade, visit lnydp.com