Members of the Paris High School band will board a chartered bus tomorrow morning and travel to Washington, D.C. where the band will perform as part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion being held over the Memorial Day weekend.
The band will return to Paris on Tuesday, May 27.
The band was selected to perform in Washington over the Memorial Day weekend last August based on the DVD of a performance, its record in competitive events and on recommendations from band directors in the area, according to Cory Mikel, director of the group.
"It’s really a big deal because they have a pretty lengthy and selective process," he said last week.
The Paris band is the only band from Arkansas invited to participate, although several Arkansas bands have been invited in the past, Mikel said.
The 36 band members will be accompanied by band directors Mikel and Javed Davis and 12 chaperons. The group will perform Sunday, May 25 at the Air Force Memorial as part of the National Memorial Day Concert Series. The group will also perform with other bands at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.
For the rest of the trip, the group will tour sites in Washington, including the Jefferson, Lincoln, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Institution’s American History, Natural History and Air and Space Museums, the National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, tour the Capitol and watch the National Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 26.
The group is attempting to get a tour of the White House, Mikel said.
While in Washington, the group will stay at the Marriott Courtyard located downtown.
Band members held fund raisers to help finance the trip, Mikel said. The trip is costing band members $800 each. Chaperons are paying their own way.
"The total cost is going to be about $40,000," Mikel said. "The kids raised about $20,000 and the school district administration is paying somewhere around $7,000 of the cost."
Mikel said a lot of the events will be televised and suggested checking TV schedules.