DEL PASO HEIGHTS — With only a few weeks before America celebrates its birthday, Grant High School’s talented and gifted members of the school’s Drumline still need a little financial push to fund its important 4th of July excursion to Washington, D.C.
The youthful musical group were invited by the National Selection Committee to represent California and perform at the “National Independence Day Parade” an annual event. The parade will take place on Constitution Avenue, in the nation’s capital, in front of thousands of spectators.
The Drumline is trying to reach a goal of $100,000 to send 40 to 50 participants to march alongside other drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, and drill teams from across the country.
“Since June (2014), this little band, from Northern California, in Del Paso Heights has raised $90,000 against all odds,” said James “Mr. V.” Van Buren, director of the Drumline. “Respectfully, we need the rest now to avoid any hold ups,” he added.
The Drumline round-trip traveling party will include drummers, dancing Pacerettes, and chaperones. But a bulk of the expense, Van Buren says, is in transporting musical instruments, lodging, insurance, new uniforms, tour bus, tour guides, and food.
“What we really need is 20 organizations to step up and donated “10,000. That’s $500 each,” Van Buren said. “We’ll take our donations from whoever realizes that we are the official representative of the entire state of California,” he added.
The parade is a major national event which seeks to attract the attention of Americans to the real meaning for the holiday. It is a patriotic, flag-waving, red white and blue celebration of America’s birthday and the Drumline will be part of the tradition.
The marching units are being selected on the basis of overall quality, as well as geographical, ethnic and stylistic diversity. It is the annual goal of the parade organizers to have at least one band or unit represent each of the 50 states of the union.
“They have bands as far as Eureka, California, the farthest you can go, down to San Diego, that filled out applications,” said Van Buren. “Out of of all those bands, they chose Grant High School to be the representative of the entire state of California.”
The Drumline has performed locally at Sacramento Kings games, Juneteenth Celebrations, Cesar Chavez March and Rally, and gained national attention by appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Late Night Show with Robin Roberts.
The band, that plays with precision and power also performs annually for non-profit organizations such as Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Autistic Foundation for Children, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Drumline is made up of passionate, artistic, and intelligent students. Practically all of them, freshmen through seniors, play the piano and every percussion instrument used in the band. More importantly, they have a grade-point-average of 2.8 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
The members of the Drumline also thanked the Del Paso Heights community and their families for putting them in a position to represent the state in the nation’s capital. Sophomore Alfred Reames credited his grandmother, Virginia Reams, and his aunt, Patricia Miller, for his development.
“My aunt and family keep me focused and they are on me about everything,” Reames told THE OBSERVER. “They realize that this is an amazing experience for everyone because this is not an area where you see people do this a lot,” he added.
Many of the students have traveled outside of the state of California while others have not. But visiting the East Coast, to see the White House and a possible chance to see the President, would be an eye-opening encounter for all involved.
“I am excited because this is like a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” said junior Kayla Coleman. “Not everyone gets an invitation to play in the Independence Day Parade. So I am taking this as an honor for the Drumline and Grant High School,” she stated.
For more infomation visit www.youcaring.com/other/
192707 or call Mr. V at (916) 202-7972.
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer