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UTSA band to represent USA in France

The UTSA band is headed to Europe to particpate in the events commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
The UTSA band is headed to Europe to particpate in the events commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band held its first day of practice Friday in preparation for a June 6 performance in Normandy, France.

The University of Texas- San Antonio band was the only university band selected to represent the U.S. at the memorial parade and musical salute marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

"It's going to be overwhelming, definitely overwhelming," said UTSA senior Esmeralda Valdez.

The marching band at UTSA has only been around for three years.

Once in Normandy, they'll be performing for high-ranking French officials, the French President Francois Hollande and President Barack Obama among others.

"It's a really big honor because I've had family that served," said John Wynkoop.

June 6, 1944, is the day the allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. They were given the order to march up the beaches and begin the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany.

The students are not only getting up to speed on the music but also on the history of that day.

"So as they start to read about the trip they start to understand the importance of it. It makes the music better, it makes their attention to detail better, it makes how they represent the state and the university a lot better," said Ron Ellis, director of bands.