JACKSON – The Jackson Liberty High School marching band will be representing New Jersey at the Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C.
“The kids are really excited,” said band director Scott Katona. They will be playing appropriately patriotic music.
There are 130 students in the band. This amounts to approximately 10 percent of the school, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.
“We do about five big parades a year,” he said. For example, they have marched in the St. Patrick’s Day and Pulaski Day parades in New York City, and the Miss America parade in Atlantic City.
With any of these high profile parades, the band has to apply for them, he said. One part of the application process includes sending video of performances.
After they are confirmed, the kids do fundraising for the trips.
As for this Memorial Day trip, the school was actually invited to apply, he said. It branched off from an event five years ago.
Five years ago, this school was selected for the Independence Day parade in D.C. The mayor had sent a flag of Jackson, and veterans sent a POW flag with them to march with. Because of that performance, the school was contacted a few months ago and asked if they wanted to represent the state.
The weekend will begin with a send-off ceremony on May 26 with a mini-concert. Local and state political representatives will be invited. There will be a day spent at Baltimore’s aquarium and Inner Harbor. There will also be a dinner boat cruise along the Potomac River. Sunday will have trips to the National Zoo and Museum of Natural History. Then, Monday is parade day.
No tax money will be used for this trip, he said. Fundraisers, a lot of which were done by the kids, took care of much of it. The total payment for each child is $500, and the families are responsible for whatever is left over after fundraising.