The Emerald Isle will be cardinal and gold for a week this month when the Trojan Marching Band visits Ireland for the first time. Fifty members of the 300-piece band and 10 USC Song Girls will make the trip and perform twice on their tour of the island, giving concerts at Blarney Castle in Cork on Tuesday and Dublin Castle on Saturday.
Led by Director Arthur C. Bartner since 1970, the band has traveled around the world regularly during the summer months for three decades. The trips have enabled the organization to bring its brand of American marching band music and pageantry to the world while giving its student musicians a valuable cultural experience. Ireland will be the 19th country the band has visited since 1988.
“The band has been to six continents and all over Europe, and this is the one country we haven’t been to yet,” Bartner said. “It’s a beautiful country and the people are extremely friendly, and we’d like to share our marching band culture with the Irish people. We’re excited to give performances at two of its most famous castles.”
Trojan Marching Band in Ireland: Crossing the pond again
The Trojan Marching Band is probably best known across the pond for its association with the British rock group Fleetwood Mac, with whom it recorded the multi-platinum albums Tusk in 1979 and The Dance in 1997. In 2009, the band performed with English rock band Radiohead on the Grammy Awards. International audiences have also seen the band’s appearances at the 1984 Olympics, 1994 World Cup and the 2009 Academy Awards, where they performed with Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé.
The band’s visit comes on the heels of the opening of USC’s newest international office in London in February. USC is one of the United States’ top universities for attracting international students, and the London office will coordinate the recruitment of talented students in the UK, Ireland and the continent.
Though it will be the Trojan Marching Band’s first visit to Ireland, the band has traveled to the British Isles twice before, touring England, Scotland and Wales in 1996 and performing in London’s Trafalgar Square during a pre-Olympics tour in 2012. During its travels the past 30 years, the band has performed at six world expositions — most recently, Milan’s Expo 2015 — and given concerts on the Great Wall of China, at the Colosseum in Rome, on Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach and on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.
The band will perform at 11:30 a.m. local time May 15 at Blarney Castle and 2 p.m. May 19 at Dublin Castle. Both performances are free and open to the public.