Rio Mesa teen will again participate in London Day Parade

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© Acorn Newspapers
© Acorn Newspapers
Hard work, dedication and talent have taken Justin Tobey far as drum major for Rio Mesa High School’s marching band.

This week, those attributes are taking him all the way to England.

Tobey, a senior, has been selected for the second consecutive year by the United Spirit Association, a California-based firm that hosts summer cheer camps, to participate in the London Day Parade on New Year’s Day

The selection is based on a student’s ability to perform and on their leadership skills.

Tobey said he is honored to have been chosen.

“They choose only a few drum majors that have the talent and skills necessary,” said the 18-year-old. “It’s really special.”

He said his experience with the parade last year, which includes a one-week tour of London, was a highlight of his year.

“It’s sort of surreal,” he said. “There are so many people in that city and it’s a really cool experience to get to travel and see all the parts of London.”

Tobey left for England the day after Christmas and will return to Camarillo on Jan. 2. He took the trip with his family last year, but due to the high cost, he will travel alone this year. Still, his weeklong trip will cost about $3,000.

Bruce Edmiston, the new music director at the school, said Tobey is an ideal candidate to represent Rio Mesa.

“He’s an outstanding student,” Edmiston said.

“He takes his tasks very seriously. He puts as much effort forth in everything he does as he can.”

The music director said Tobey has been a quality leader of the band, which competed for a championship for the first time in five years earlier this month. Recognition is nothing new for the student, who won first place for drum major at the Camarillo Christmas Parade this year.

“It’s been accolade after another, after another,” Edmiston said. “I put as much responsibility on him as I possibly could and he just continuously rises to the challenge.”

The former choir director at Oxnard High School said Tobey’s work ethic is what separates him from other drum majors in the district.

Edmiston said he only knows one other drum major from the high schools.

“It says a lot that I don’t know any of the others,” he said. “I’ve never seen him slack a day.

“Sometimes, kids show up but they’re not really there. That never happens with Justin. He shows up every day and is willing to do just about anything for the band,” Edmiston said.

Tobey said he’s looking forward to his second experience at the London Day Parade more than he did the first. The drum major said he was often flustered and caught off guard by the magnitude of the event last year.

This year he’s more prepared.

“I’m so grateful that I get to do it again,” he said. “It’s really great to see another country and meet new people.

“Being in a parade is so rare. It’s something I can always say I’ve been a part of.”

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