FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale is home to one of the most elite high school marching bands around and they have the resume to prove it.
But a major upcoming performance is in jeopardy and it’s at no fault of their own.
They call themselves the Marching Dragon Band and are comprised of more than 100 girls and boys mixing music and dance at a level that has even earned them a spot to play in London next year.
“We’re not like all bands,” 12th grader Diamond Knowles said.
But the prestigious band is dealing with a major issue concerning their upcoming trip to Tampa to perform in the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.
The city promised to foot the bill until an abrupt phone call came this week, informing the band that budget cuts would no longer make it possible.
“I was disappointed. I was sad. I feel like if they knew it was gonna be an issue, we should have got the heads up before so we could prepare ahead of time,” student Keveia Lazo said.
“Everybody has been planning and working so hard, preparing for hours,” another student, Donovan McLean, said.
Stranahan’s marching band has accepted the very same invitation for three years in a row.
This year, the group can still make the trip on Sunday to perform the day after if they somehow come up with the sudden $2,500 hole to cover transportation costs.
It’s an amount some parents believe is possible if the right people from the community step in to support the band.
“They’ll get there and they’ll show you why they deserve to be right there where they are. It’s just getting that chance,” Barbara Santiago said.
But time is ticking and the band is not slowing down, proving that the show must go on, even if it’s not in front of the audience they were anticipating.
“No matter what the circumstances is, we still gotta do what we gotta do, even if we don’t go or, if we do go, we still have to keep grinding. That’s gonna make us better as a whole band,” 12th grader Tyler Ware said.
So for now, the rehearsals continue even despite this huge roadblock.
To made a donation to help the band make it to Tampa for their scheduled performance, people may write a check made out to “Marching Dragon Band Booster, Inc.” or contribute via PayPal at Carlos.Redman@browardschools.com.
The band also has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for their upcoming performance in London.
All donations are tax deductible because the band is considered a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization that provides avenues for students to enrich their musical education beyond what local schools are able to supply. (Federal Tax ID #82-1691632)