Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bloomingdale High band needs help getting to London parade

With their red and black uniforms shining brightly, they will march through London, a moving billboard for our area that will rival the neon-lit billboard in Piccadilly Circus.

Precise steps and crisp notes will mark their performance as they go through Trafalgar Square, past the Landseer lions and Nelson's Column. As they make their way to the end of the route, the excitement of being on an international stage will steel them against a New Year's Day morning likely to be chilly.

Can't you can see the Bloomingdale High Rajun' Bull Band passing Big Ben and Westminster Abbey while playing a popular Coldplay tune?

Viva la Vida indeed.

The vision of playing in the 25th annual London New Year's Day Parade crystallizes with each passing day for the band's 250 members, as well as the school's chorus and orchestra, which also will make the trip and perform at separate events.

At a recent practice, band members sported black T-shirts emblazoned with a stylish Union Jack logo and the words "London Tour-British Invasion." The band treated parents and supporters to a preview last week, which heightened the enthusiasm that began last fall when the school music program began plans to travel to England.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said junior Amber Aversa, a member of the band's Crimson Guard flag corps.

The opportunity came about largely because Bloomingdale's band and music program has established itself as one of the area's biggest and best. More than 600 musicians make up the department, which routinely receives superior ratings in competitions.

A group of judges composed largely of college marching band members recommended Bloomingdale for the prestigious honor of participating in the London music festival, an event for which only 25 U.S. programs are selected each year.

It also helped that band director Jon Sever had experience with the event, having gone when he led the River Ridge High band in New Port Richey.

Sever speaks of life-altering outcomes when describing the experience, which gives the band a chance to perform before a reported international audience of 220 million in 192 countries.

The trip will not only take the kids to popular tourist destinations, but also show them a different way of life and likely heighten their appreciation for the freedoms we Americans can take for granted. Such was the case when I went to Europe as a high school sophomore before these kids were born.

Of course, such a grand experience comes with a price tag. The trip costs each student $2,900. Students have been paying monthly $300 installments since January, but Sever and the band's board of directors will begin seeking community support to defray costs. Donations will be equally divided among attending students.

"Wouldn't it be nice to tell the students 'Don't worry about those last two payments. They've been covered'?" Sever said. "We're always talking about what's wrong with kids, what's wrong with education. What a way to spotlight what's right with kids, what's right with education."

These remain economically challenging times, but we should never pass on a chance to send a message of care to kids. They need to know we appreciate their hours being devoted to worthy pursuits instead of idle time robbers.

Donations can be sent to the attention of Jon Sever, Band Director, Bloomingdale High School, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico 33596. To listen to the marching band, visit (or for short,

That's all I'm saying.

Bloomingdale High band needs help getting to London parade 08/26/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.