Prince Philip to open UK-based World Show Band Championships

Organizers of the 2004 World Show Band Championships in the United Kingdom have announced that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will officially open the championships and festival on July 21 in Bournemouth, England.

Event director Jim Vaughan said this is a major coup for the activity.

“This is the first time ever that such a senior member of the Royal Family has visited any activity event in the UK. With His Royal Highness playing such a prominent part in our five-day festival, this will significantly boost the profile of the whole event to the benefit of the whole activity. His Highness has a long tradition of supporting events for young people, and we are of course delighted and honored that he has chosen to join us in July next year,” Vaughan said.

The organizing team behind the five-day championships and festival are in negotiation with bands and corps from 23 nations, and while the ever-changing international situation is always an issue with world events that involve travel and young people, they are confident that a high number of countries will be represented. The latest two bands that are making arrangements come from South Africa and Colombia.

Vaughan said, ” When we last staged this championships in London during 1998, Empire Statesmen took the World title and had a great time. Empire hopes to attend the 2004 event to defend their crown.”

This five-day spectacular is a major part of The British Federation of Youth Marching Band Organizations two-year “Reaching Out” development program aimed at the whole activity and including all of the major national youth organizations including Drum Corps United Kingdom, British Youth Band Association and TYMBA.

Organizers have worked hard to secure budget accommodation for visiting bands, which starts at about $10 a night. Madison Scouts staff members have also agreed to join with The Band of the Royal Marines and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to run daytime clinics.

For more details log on to www.marchingbands.org.uk, or e-mail Jim Vaughan at marchbands@aol.com.