The Harding University High School Marching Band of Gold is going to Washington.
Thanks to a $25,000 donation by Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and a $13,000 gift from AT&T, the band has more than raised the $50,000 it needs to cover costs associated with performing in Barack Obama’s inauguration parade.
As of last week, the band had raised just under $40,000. The latest gifts were announced today.
The additional money will go to cover chaperones and make repairs to band instruments and uniforms.
“This trip was going to clear the band’s coffers,” said Cassandra Tucker, a band mom who helped organize various fundraising events. “These generous donations will allow all of this and leave some money in the treasury for the band to begin the next year.”
The 110-member band is one of 200 school bands chosen from more than 1,300 that applied to play at Obama’s inauguration. The band submitted a video of a performance and band director Anthony Jones filled out a questionnaire to apply.
On Jan. 19th, the students will board buses at 2 a.m. to roll off to Washington. They’ll march down Pennsylvania Avenue after the president has been sworn in. One of the songs they’ll perform is “Get Ready” by the Temptations. Jones said he picked the piece to symbolize the new administration’s stance for change.
In a letter to Jones dated Jan. 12, AT&T regional director Todd Lanham wished the band a safe and happy trip.
“This is a dream trip for your bandsmen, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see history unfold,” he said. “We want that dream to come true.”