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Pride of Dayton Marching Band to perform in 2021 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland

By Dave Larsen

Editor's note: The Pride of Dayton Marching Band's performance in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, has been moved to March 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

University of Dayton junior Emily Kramer has never flown on an airplane or traveled outside the U.S. That will all change in March 2021 when the Pride of Dayton Marching Band performs in the official St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland. Kramer, a drum major, will lead the band past thousands of spectators through Dublin’s historic city center.

“It is such an honor for the Pride of Dayton to be chosen to play on an international stage,” said Kramer, a music education major from Versailles, Ohio. “This is an opportunity that not many college bands get. I think it’s going to be a life-changing experience for everyone involved.”

The Pride of Dayton — affectionately known as “POD” — will perform in Ireland’s largest parade March 17, 2021, at the invitation of Nial Ring, former lord mayor of Dublin, after being selected through a competitive process. The parade is the central event of the city’s five-day St. Patrick’s Festival, celebrating Ireland’s patron saint.

New and returning band members, as well as POD alumni from the Classes of 2017-2020, will visit Ireland March 14-21 to march in the parade and tour cultural sites that include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, the Rock of Cashel, the early Christian site of Clonmacnoise, and Belfast, Northern Ireland. They also will visit historic Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the ninth century containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.

“This is an opportunity for us to celebrate the origins of the holiday in the place where it all started,” said Kenneth Will, Pride of Dayton director and lecturer in the Department of Music. “All faiths and traditions are welcome in POD, but with the values that come from our Marianist roots, the historical significance of St. Patrick’s Day is of particular interest for our students.”

Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade draws up to 500,000 spectators along its 2-mile route and features international marching bands, colorful floats and costumed revelers. The band’s selections for the parade include Victory, the University’s fight song, and a yet-to-be determined popular song from the U.S.

In 2020, Will hopes to increase POD membership to 150 students, up from 135 last year. Nearly 85% of band members are non-music majors. Instrumentation includes woodwinds, brass, drumline and color guard. During fall semesters, the band plays at all home football and volleyball games, along with the Holiday at Home parade in Kettering, Ohio, and area high school band festivals. Typically, the band doesn’t perform during spring semesters, so 2021 will be an exception.

Imani Prophet, a sophomore chemical engineering major from Country Club Hills, Illinois, is excited to bring her passion for performing with the POD color guard to Dublin. “I hope to bring the sense of happiness and awe that I had seeing my first drum corps performance to another group of people,” she said.

“The actual parade itself will certainly be a highlight and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but when else am I going to get the opportunity to travel abroad with so many friends?” said Timothy Gregory, a trumpet player and sophomore mechanical engineering major from Troy, Michigan. “I am blessed to have the opportunity.”

Will developed the trip’s educational component with Kelly Trail, director of education abroad in the University’s Center for International Programs. Prior to departure, students will engage in lectures and discussions about the history of St. Patrick’s Day and why Ireland has a parade to celebrate the saint. They also will participate in a session in which they examine their own cultural lens and explore how it impacts the way they interpret cross-cultural experiences.

“This experience will definitely open my eyes to another part of the world,” said Ally Brown, POD’s assistant CEO and a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Norwalk, Ohio. “That’s something I appreciate about traveling, because when you immerse yourself in another culture and try to stand in your neighbor’s shoes, you can learn a lot about yourself and how you can better relate to others going forward.”

Kramer said the experience will allow her to better serve her future students. “Music educators strive to teach music of many cultures. I will be able to bring what I learn on our trip back to the classroom.”

The application deadline for returning band members and alumni from the Classes of 2017-2020 is Feb. 15, 2020. A second, later deadline for new members who join the band for the 2020-21 academic year is Sept. 15, 2020.

For more information, including trip costs and Center for International Programs scholarship opportunities, visit the POD Ireland 2021 website.

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