BELGRADE — The Belgrade High School Marching Band is heading to Washington D.C. but is in need of donations to support their trip.
The Panther Marching Band has been invited to perform at the National Independence Day Parade in D.C. on July 4. The news was met in the band room at Belgrade High, abuzz with excitement, anticipation, and the sound of tuning.
“We didn’t have [marching band] last year, which was really sad, I was really excited, but now it’s back and this is going to be awesome,” Samantha Wheeler said.
Samantha is a junior piccolo player in the band and says that her love of playing was sparked at the early age of three years old.
During the COVID pandemic, the band was unable to meet and perform together. Today, a group of students with all levels of experience practice as one, in preparation to perform on the national stage.
“There’s something different about being a small bit of a bigger picture; they’re not just watching me, they’re watching us—there’s just something about it that I love,” said Samantha. “It means the world, this a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so excited that I get to do this with some of my friends.”
VIDEO EXTRA: Student describes Belgrade marching band experience
Band Director Ben Blixt notes the passion the students bring to the marching band and the importance of the arts.
“Music is such an important part to so many events, from Veterans Day assemblies to concerts, to football games, the band just adds so much to it,” Blixt said. “We have a very supportive administration and parents and we want to encourage younger kids to get involved in music.”
Being invited to play at the nation's Capitol doesn’t come without a price tag: airfare, lodging, baggage fees, meals, and more. A grant has been given to the team, parents of students have assisted, but donations are still needed, according to Blixt.
A GoFundMe account has been created with a goal of $12,000 to assist the team on their way to D.C.
MTN News will continue to follow this story and will update as more information becomes available.