GILBERT, AZ — A special invitation from across the pond came for the Gilbert High School marching band.
The group of about 75 young musicians welcomed a descendant of Winston Churchill to town for some unfinished business.
The Gilbert High School marching band celebrated the end of their marching season on Tuesday night.
Dressed like they’re headed to perform at halftime under the Friday Night Lights, the band performed an original song called "PUSH."
It's an acronym that stands for "persistence until something happens."
Band director Ron Andre says he picked it well before any hint of a disruptive pandemic.
"It just seemed fitting for everything we're going through this year,” said Andre.
Back in 2019, the Gilbert High School marching band was slated to ring in the new year with a performance in London. But like most everything else, that was canceled.
That pattern of COVID cancellations continued again this year.
"It's tough, especially for the seniors,” said Andre.
But the Tiger band is persistent.
Like Winston Churchill once said, "never, never, never - give up."
And they haven't.
That original song they performed on Tuesday night was for a camera crew who came from London to record their performance.
The song will be played during the virtual New Year's celebration in the United Kingdom for an international audience.
Even Duncan Sandys, the great-grandson of Winston Churchill, came to Arizona for more than a cup of tea.
"They are a remarkable set of young people who are incredibly talented,” said Sandys.
So once again, Sandys invited the Gilbert High School marching band to perform in London at the start of 2023 - in person.
He said in the U.K., marching bands are novel because they don't really have many.
"That's because we play proper football,” said Sandys.
There's no way to know what Churchill would say about these young chaps in Gilbert - but Sandys says they embody his "never give up" attitude.
“I think he'd be delighted to see other people who are working just as hard with a goal in mind,” said Sandys.