GREEN BAY - Students in the East High School marching band in Green Bay are gearing up for a very special trip. The students will head to our nation’s capital for the Fourth of July.
It may not boast 76 trombones, but this marching band is headed to a big parade.
"We're going to Washington, D.C., which is an amazing opportunity,” said alto sax player Jasmyne Jacques, who will be a junior in the fall.
“We get to perform in the National Independence Day Parade,” said band director Karen Iken.
It's the first big trip for many students.
"I thought the biggest thing we'd do is go to Chicago which we do every year,” said Jacques.
"I'm really excited just to see the capitol site sounds and all that fun stuff,” said Ryan Vanden Boomen, who plays tuba and will be a senior in the fall.
And the first national parade for the band and its director Karen Iken.
"I heard from a close friend of mine who has done the parade who said that the hardest thing about it is concentrating on the parade because you're marching past all these monuments and he says it's a life-changing experience,” said Iken.
The group applied last year to be in the National Fourth of July parade. Since being picked, they've spent months fundraising and practicing.
"Just making sure that we are up to snuff with the quality of what it needs to be to be a national band,” said Vanden Boomen.
Students say they're still a little nervous, and not only about performing on such a big stage.
“Thankfully, we have the music memorized. So as long as you keep playing, you can kind of look around,” said Jacques.
They’re also worried about surviving the 16 hour bus ride to D.C.
"I hope I don't get put next to freshmen?” Vanden Boomen joked.
All joking aside, these musicians say it will be the greatest moment of their young careers: to represent Northeast Wisconsin in the nation’s capital on the nation's birthday.
"Honestly, it's just an honor to play in a parade like that,” said Vanden Boomen.
Beyond their performance, students will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3.
The band says various community organizations donated nearly $20,000 to cover the $75,000 cost of the trip.