Marching Mizzou visits Ireland for international band competition

MU’s marching band won the title of Overall Parade Champion.
Courtesy of Erica Ehrhardt

Marching Mizzou departed Tuesday on their second trip to Ireland to perform in the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Limerick International Band Championship.

The band competed in this competition once before in 2012 and walked away with a top award and the title of International Band Champion. Although they didn’t know they were competing, Marching Mizzou was also granted the Judges Discretionary Award for the parade in Dublin.

This year, director of bands Brad Snow brought 260 students to perform abroad. He is looking forward to sharing traditional MU music with the people of Ireland, he said.

“Every chance we get, we always want to show Mizzou in its best light,” Snow said. “It’ll be the first opportunity for a lot of people in the world to even know about the University of Missouri, so (we want to) make a good first impression for those people who have never seen us before.”

The band performed in the parade Thursday, following a seven-hour flight from Chicago O’Hare and a day of sightseeing in Dublin. The parade featured bands and floats from across the world and lasted approximately two hours. According to the parade’s official website, more than 80,000 people were in attendance.

The band dedicated Friday to sightseeing. Their itinerary included a tour of Trinity College, which houses Parliament Square, the Old Library and the Book of Kells, as well as a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. That afternoon, Marching Mizzou performed at the Guinness Brewery Storehouse, where they also got the opportunity to tour the facility.

Freshman Kyle Matl is most looking forward to being able to drink at and tour the Guinness Brewery Storehouse. In Ireland, the drinking age is 18.

“You get to actually be where they make (Guinness),” he said. “That’s an awesome experience.”

The following day, the band toured the Cliffs of Moher at Galway, a ridge that rises 702 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s like the Grand Canyon of Ireland, so it’s pretty awesome,” senior Meredith Morris said.

Morris said she couldn’t wait to see Ireland’s landscape.

“It’s pretty beautiful in Ireland and there’s lots of green,” Morris said. “ I’ve missed seeing that since it’s really cold here in winter.”

On Sunday, the band departed for Limerick, where they performed at the Limerick International Band Championship.

Snow said Marching Mizzou competed against 15 bands from across Ireland, along with three other U.S. bands: Shorecrest High School, Old Dominion University and Smoky Hill High School.

“We felt like, with the success of 2012, we kind of set the standard for all the other bands who have competed in that,” Snow said. “We want to maintain that tradition of excellence.”

Marching Mizzou was awarded the title of Overall Parade Champion after their performance in the competition.

Following the competition, the band will visit Bunratty Folk Park and Bunratty Castle and then move on to Monroe’s Tavern for Irish music in the evening.

Their last day in Ireland will feature a tour of Blarney Castle in County Cork, where the band will see and possibly follow the tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone.

They will return to campus late Tuesday night.

Snow said he loves having the chance to provide his students with such an incredible experience abroad.

“I’m always excited just to share an international experience with people who have never been anywhere international before, and going to Ireland is a really great first trip because there’s no language barriers, the Irish people are very friendly and they love American bands,” Snow said.

Edited by Emily Gallion |

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