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Pride of Dayton Marching Band to represent UD at London Band Week

By Lauren McCarty '26

The Pride of Dayton Marching Band will represent the University of Dayton at London Band Week during summer 2025, returning to the U.K. three years after its triumphant performance at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

The Pride of Dayton — affectionately known as “POD” — is a show band recognized for its energetic parade dances and powerful halftime performances. It is one of three U.S. bands scheduled to be part of the pomp and pageantry at the 2025 London Band Week.

The ensemble was invited by London Band Week CEO Joe Wyndham, who saw POD perform in Dublin. Wyndham extended the invitation to Kenneth Will, Pride of Dayton director and senior lecturer in the UD Department of Music, in December 2023 at the Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference in Chicago. 

“We met and discussed his vision and as soon as they found out who we were he kind of lit up because he remembered us from the St. Patrick's Day Parade the year before,” Will said. “He was already familiar with us and knew our reputation and he was really excited to talk to us about getting in their program”

Will attended London Band Week in 2023 during its inaugural year as a guest of the University of Tennessee Marching Band, which performed at the event. 

“It exceeded my expectations in every way,” Will said. He described it as “a mix of what they do over there, which is community youth-type bands that are built around their military tradition and what we do here, which is all academic and scholastic.” 

Will is excited about this event because while Dublin was a big performance, POD was one small part of a national celebration. In contrast, London Band Week is centered around marching bands from the U.K. and U.S.

“We want to bring the University of Dayton to the U.K.,” Will said. “We want to put UD on the map.”

The Pride of Dayton will have three major performances while in London: a solo concert at Potters Field Park, a “drum-off” competition at Hampton Court, and a military tattoo where bands play back-to-back and then perform together for a grand finale. 

Will said the trip’s educational components are being developed in conjunction with UD’s Global and Intercultural Affairs Center.

The trip will provide POD members with a cross-cultural immersion and the opportunity to represent UD in the U.K. Each student will do individual fundraising, in addition to the FlyerFunder fundraiser to support the entire band, which launched March 12.

POD, 2024

Ashleigh Muir, a sophomore music education major from Tipp City, Ohio, one of the band's three drum majors, will assume a leadership role of helping manage students of the trip. This will be her first trip abroad; she says she's particularly excited to see London's famous red double-decker buses.

Muir joined POD as a clarinet player, but auditioned for drum major after connecting with Will and previous drum majors. Now she proudly watches her peers from the ladder. 

“It’s very gratifying to get up there in front of everyone, but I’m not getting up on the podium to display myself, I’m getting up there to help other students get to where they are,” Muir said. 

Muir regards POD as a group of well-connected students who support each other and are dedicated to playing in the marching band. She has found some of her closest friends through their shared enthusiasm for POD.

“Coming into POD, I noticed there were so many people and I loved it because the more people you have the more personalities, the more energy.” Muir said. 

POD is open to all students regardless of major and experience. UD offers course credit to all members. Sinclair Community College and Wright State University students also may join and receive credit at their schools. 

The season begins with band camp a week before the fall semester. Practices and performances are August through November at community events, and football and volleyball games. The ensemble has traveled out of state and abroad before, but this will be their first time in London. 

A companion trip to London Band Week for POD family members will be launched when student registration begins April 27. Enrollment is open through December.

Muir expects her grandparents to join her in London. 

“They go to everything with me, they are my biggest supporters,” she said.

Will, who has doubled the size of the band since becoming director in 2016, has received many compliments about POD’s conduct when representing UD at events. Will said he is proud to be in the company of such a great group of students and to see their growth through their POD experiences

“Whether it's Ireland, England, Chicago or the Circleville pumpkin show, the feedback is that we have the best students,” Will said. “Everyone says thank you, everyone cleans up after themselves, they carry themselves the way a UD student should.”

For more information, visit the UD Department of Music, Pride of Dayton Marching Band and London Band Week websites.

To support POD’s London Band Week trip, visit the FlyerFunder campaign page.

Photos provided by Nick Bolin

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