Earlier this week, we wrote about Eastern High School’s Marching Band, which is scheduled to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio this Saturday.
The band needed to raise $3,900 for a roundtrip bus ride. The group was relying on paychecks from students’ jobs with the Department of Employment Services’ Summer Youth Program. But, when the District’s payment system failed, students came up short. As of Monday, the group only had $500.
Fortunately, band leader James Perry can now wipe the beads of sweat off his forehead.
“It has been an amazing week,” he says.
Since news spread about the band’s plight, several major donors have stepped up to the plate. Matchbox, the Chinatown restaurant, donated $1,100. Several other Capitol Hill residents got in touch with the band and opened their wallets: one woman threw down $1,500 to $1,600 to help with the bus deposit; two others contributed a combined $2,000, says Perry.
The band has also played repeatedly throughout the neighborhood, donation bucket on hand. On Wednesday, the group marched all the way from Eastern High School to Eastern Market, roughly 14 blocks. And yesterday, NBC4 camera crews captured the band on their tour through the neighborhood for a segment on the evening news.
Perry didn’t report every single fund raising update to his students.
“I don’t like to tell them the numbers because if I tell them the numbers, they just—-they go crazy,” he says. “I told them we’re getting close. Just keep doing it. They love you.”
Now, Perry can proudly report the band has surpassed its goal. At last count, the band had $5,678. Still, there’s no time to kick back.
“We still have a lot to do. We have to go out and get some supplies. We need some mouthpieces, some sticks and some things for the percussion section. I have to spray paint some of our footwear, get some gloves, and verify things for the bus company,” says Perry, “Just kind of run down my checklist. I’ll probably be here until we leave tonight.”