The marching band at Tuscaloosa's Central High School is drawing closer to their goal of performing in the nation's capital but members need a little more help to make it financially possible for all members.

The band has the prestigious honor of having been scheduled to perform in Washington D.C. on the U.S. National Mall in the first week of April.

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Lydia Avant, a spokeswoman for the Tuscaloosa City School System, said it will take around $50,000 to send 45-50 Central High School Marching Band members to D.C., and the journey would mark one of their first trips out of state at least a decade.

"These kinds of experiences are vitally important, to get them out of this area, to experience something very different from Tuscaloosa," said Central High School band director Michael Maxton. "The students can see through performance how their hard work is appreciated not only here, but in other places as well."

Only a dozen or so of the band members' families can make monthly payments to cover the cost of their student's travel - about $1,000 per student.

That leaves around $38,000 to raise, and the effort was more than halfway realized earlier this month thanks largely to help from state lawmakers. Avant said that Sen. Gerald Allen contributed $5,000, $6,000 came from Sen. Bobby Singleton and Rep. Chris England pitched in a whopping $10,000.

"I can't express how much we appreciate the legislators' support in helping make this experience happen for our students," Maxton said. "Our band members have worked so hard for so long, I know this will be a memorable experience for them."

The band has launched a GoFundMe for crowdfunding, and that has raised more than $8,000 at the time this story was written.

They have additionally raised more than $3,300 through a popcorn-selling fundraiser, so by this reporter's math, the band has put together around $32,000, leaving $6,000 more before the band has the bare minimum needed to make the trip a reality.

"This is such an important experience for our students, many of whom have never visited the nation's Capitol before," Maxton said. "Any donations would go a long way to ensure our students get the experience."

CHS Drum Major Caleb Boyd has never been to D.C., but is looking forward to the trip and wants to see the White House.

"It means a lot to have opportunities like these in school because we get to travel and experience the country," Boyd said. "Some of us get to achieve our goals and do things that we dreamed of. It also means a lot to us because we got to share ourselves with a variety of people all around the country. Plus, what's better than making memories with your friends?"

The band hopes to have enough for the trip to finish their fundraising efforts by March 1 so band members can start to plan for the April trip and performance. To chip in to the GoFundMe and help these Falcons soar, check out the campaign here, and stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more community news as it develops.

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