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Gadsden band to march in San Diego parade
Click here to see photos from the Gadsden Elementary School District Marching Band's trip to London
Barely a month back from its performance in London's New Year's Day parade, an area school marching band is leaving Sunday for San Diego to take part in a parade to honor the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
About 180 members of the Gadsden Elementary School District Marching Band will take part in the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, which is slated to begin at 2 p.m. on Harbor Drive, said band director Martin Peralta.
While being invited to the London parade represents the band's biggest achievement to date, Peralta said, participating in the MLK parade itself is a notable accomplishment, given its prominence.
The parade, billed as one of the largest of its kind in the nation to celebrate MLK, brings together floats, bands, drill teams and other entries representing high schools, colleges fraternities, churches and youth and peace groups. It is coordinated by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest black fraternity in America.
“They are very excited,” Peralta said of the band members. “They've never marched in San Diego before.”
The band consists of students in grades fourth through eighth who come from schools from San Luis, Ariz., and neighboring Gadsden.
To win an invitation to the parade, the Gadsden band submitted to organizers an application that included tapes of its prior performances, Peralta said.
“It's going to be a different type of parade” than others in which the band has participated, Peralta said. “It has a certain entertainment value, and I believe we will be able to give that to the audience.”
The band will leave San Luis by bus Sunday morning in time for the MLK parade and then will return the same day, he said.
Next month, the band is scheduled to travel to Scottsdale to take part in that city's Parada del Sol parade, Peralta added.
While in Britain for the New Year's Day parade, the band received an informal invitation to go back overseas to Spain in January 2016 for La Cabalgata de Los Reyes Magos holiday parade. Peralta said no decision has been made about whether the band will make that appearance.
Prior to this year, the Gadsden band had made appearances in Disneyland and had performed in Hollywood's 80th annual Christmas Parade and in the Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix.