By Abby Cloud
In less than ten days, the Florida State University Marching Chiefs are heading to France for an opportunity of a lifetime. This past summer, Music Celebrations International of Tempe, Arizona extended an invitation to the Marching Chiefs to represent the United States in the 75th Anniversary celebration of D-Day—the first time the marching band has performed abroad in almost 20 years. The Tally Wire got to speak with Marching Chiefs like former 2018 Assistant Drum Major Katherine (Katie) Olney, and first year members Molly Creel and Tony Cappellino, who are immensely looking forward to the trip.
The three Chiefs all remember how the directors of the Chiefs teased a “big announcement” at the start of the 2018 pre-season training. After the approval was given by the Dean of the College of Music and the University, the directors released the news to the Marching Chiefs. “Our directors called us in to tell us our game plan for the day and talk over logistics for the game,” Katie Olney shares, “but during that “close order,” they announced to us that we were invited to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.”
Molly Creel recalls the atmosphere once the news was announced: “Everyone was just so ecstatic and excited!” Tony Cappellino agreed that it was the only thing the band could talk about for the rest of the day. This year’s celebration of D-Day commemorates the 75th anniversary of “one of the largest, most dramatic, invasions in world history.” The mission behind the organization works to honor the World War II American soldiers that lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.
In addition to their performance in the parade, the Marching Chiefs will also be featured in other celebratory events around Paris. The band learned four new songs to perform during the parade and throughout Paris. In preparation for this historic occasion, the directors worked to make it as organized as possible as well as plan out the logistics for their performance. “Our directors have done a great job at coordinating everything,” comments Creel.
This isn’t the first time the FSU’s Marching Chiefs have been invited to perform abroad. In 1997, the Marching Chiefs performed at halftime in London for the London Monarchs, and in Damascus, Syria with other FSU ensembles, at the invitation of the U.S. State Department. “Since 1974, we’ve been known as the ‘World Renowned FSU Marching Chiefs’,” Cappellino says, “we’re so excited to be able to reaffirm this title with our third trip abroad.” Creel calls this opportunity “an honor to not only represent FSU, but also the United States of America.”
With over 400 members attending, a variety of talent, and determination like no other, it is no surprise that the Marching Chiefs were offered such a wonderful opportunity; they will make Florida State proud.