Edmond high school band cancels London trip

Tuesday, October 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) _ A planned trip by the Edmond Santa Fe High School band to the London Festival parade has been canceled because of security concerns.

David Goin, superintendent of Edmond Public Schools, said he called off the trip because the U.S. State Department issued advisories warning of risks to American travelers following the East Coast terrorist attacks and U.S. attacks on Afghanistan.

``We are saddened by world conditions that have prompted the decision to cancel this activity,'' he said. ``However, when presented with reliable information that significant risk is associated with world travel, we have a responsibility to follow with prudent action to refrain from unnecessary travel that poses a serious potential threat to the well being of our people.''

Band director Michael Lowery said he was ``tremendously disappointed'' that the trip had been called off.

The annual London Festival parade attracts dozens of U.S. marching bands and the Santa Fe band has spent months raising money and organizing for the trip.

The Santa Fe band marched in the January 1997 London parade and was the only Oklahoma band scheduled to participate this time.

Lowery said parade officials believe the decision to cancel now is premature.

``They're busting their rears to cover security over there,'' Lowery said.

Lowery said administrators from schools throughout the United States were being flown to London later this month ``to meet with local officials and discuss the security measures that are being taken.''

He said about 200 students and parents so far had committed about $1,500 each to the trip. Half the money has been sent to London and the other half held locally. Lowery said it was unclear whether parade officials would refund their part of the money.

Lowery said it was too soon to decide whether the band would attempt the same trip next year.

He said the only other band to back out of the parade so far was a band from California.