Local News

Douglas Byrd H.S. Marching Band Looks For Way To Play At White House

Posted January 10, 2000

— A Fayetteville marching band has an exciting invitation to perform at the White House. But now, they have to find a way to pay for it.

TheDouglas Byrd High SchoolMarching Band is the only band in the state being asked to perform at the White House bicentennial celebration in May.

"It marks how many years the White House has been around," said Annalisa Waggoner, a student. "For us to be included in the celebration is a very nice honor."

The unsolicited invitation came at the end of October. The band has already raised $10,000, but for 150 members to attend, they need more money to the tune of $60,000.

"We are on really short notice and we do have several fund-raisers that we plan to do, but the best that we can hope for is a percentage of the money that we need," said band director Charles Dumas.

The Marching Eagles are now trying to pull at the heartstrings of the community. They are asking local businesses and civic organizations for help. They have even asked the city council's policy committee for money.

Robert Massey, policy committee member and councilman, is personally supporting the trip, but he does not believe the city should. He says it could set a dangerous precedent.

"Is it appropriate to use taxpayers' dollars to subsidize their trip?" Massey said. "The answer in my estimation is no."

Students say they will continue to sound off so they can march on and off the White House lawn.

"We are doing something that we love and that we have learned to do all of our lives," said John Holifield, a student. "For us not to go will hurt a lot of us."

The city council will vote on the policy committee's recommendation at their council meeting Monday night.

Anyone would like to donate money to the marching band for the trip can call the school's band room at(910) 485-7954.

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