Olivet Marching Tigers to play in Rome 2020 parade

September 9, 2018

The Olivet Nazarene University Marching Band will perform in Rome on New Year’s Day 2020.

Rome City Hall’s official invitation came in recognition of excellence in music performance by Olivet’s Marching Band. Robert Bone, executive director, and Lizzie Bone, operations director for Youth Music of the World, visited Olivet’s campus in Bourbonnais on Monday to deliver the invitation personally.

Bone presented the formal invitation — written in Italian, printed and framed — to Dr. Don Reddick, dean, and Dr. Matt Stratton, professor and director of athletic bands, who accepted on behalf of the School of Music at Olivet.

“We have some work to do to get ready for this event,” said Stratton. “And we’ll do that with joy and enthusiasm!”

The planned route for the 2020 Rome New Year’s Day Parade begins and ends at Piazza del Popolo, Rome’s main square. Christmas lights and themes will line the route, against the backdrop of the city’s rich architectural history.

Each year, hundreds of tens of thousands of people from across the world flock to the Eternal City to celebrate the New Year and attend the Pope’s annual New Year’s address and blessing. The parade is part of the Rome Festival, a series of indoor concerts and outdoor performances at iconic locations across the city.

Possible venues for the 2020 Rome Festival music performances are St. John of the Florentines, Santa Maria in Montesanto, Piazza del Popolo, St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican), Piazza San Pietro, Piazza del Mercato and/or Basilica di San Pietro Apostolo. Details about the performances and participants will be announced as they become available.

Olivet’s 2018–2019 Marching Band, with 180 students, is the second largest marching band at any Christian university in the United States and the largest marching band at any Nazarene university. Dr. Neal McMullian is director of bands for the university, and Dr. Matt Jacklin is director of percussion studies for the School of Music.

This is far from the first time the band has been honored: The Marching Tigers played at President Donald Trump’s inauguration parade in 2017, and in January 2016, band members traveled to London as one of just 12 groups invited to play in the city’s New Year’s Day Parade. They also played at the London Gala Concert Series.

“This is an honor for our School of Music and the University,” said Reddick. “I commend Dr. Stratton on this achievement. He has been instrumental — in more ways than one — in making this a reality for Olivet.”

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