FORT WAYNE – It has taken months of planning and fundraising, but early Friday morning 70 Marching Cadets boarded buses to Washington, D.C., to perform in the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade.
On Thursday, Concordia Lutheran high School Band Director Dianne Moellering said students were excited to get on the road.
Everybody is pretty pumped, Moellering said. Every time theyve had a break during the day the past couple days theyve wanted to come down and help pack costumes and band equipment.
Last August, the band was invited to participate in the annual parade as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial and Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, she said.
Its something weve been looking forward to all year long. Weve done a ton of fundraisers and had some very generous people who supported us and helped us cover our costs and then some, she said. The support has been great.
The 70 students and 22 adults left Friday morning for their six-day trip, which will include several performances and some sightseeing.
Band members had to contribute $500 each to go on the trip.
Because their official parade duties do not begin until Monday, the long weekend will give students a chance to experience landmarks in Maryland and Washington, D.C., Moellering said.
Some of the stops will include Fort McHenry in Baltimore, a boat ride in the Baltimore Harbor, and visit to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, students will visit the Old Post Office Pavilion for lunch and the Smithsonian National Zoo before attending a concert performed by the National Symphony Orchestra on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.
Moellering said its difficult to say what students are most excited about, but Mondays parade is sure to be a favorite.
I think they are pretty excited about the actual marching down Constitution Avenue, she said.
The 2 p.m. parade wont be televised on any local stations, Moellering said, but people can watch a live stream on www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com.
Moellering said she has been talking with her students for months about the honor and importance of being part of the national parade.
We have an ROTC program at our high school so were pretty into honoring our veterans and this is a great way to do it, she said. And its a great way to wrap up the year.