More than 100 students and parents from Hall County are fundraising like never before, hoping to collect enough money to get the Honor Band of Southern Hall County to Hawaii to play at Pearl Harbor for the state's 50th anniversary.
The Honor Band of Southern Hall County is a collective of marching bands members from Johnson High School and West Hall High School, directed by Johnson's David Jones and West Hall's Ernie Phillips.
"This is an unprecedented event for Hall County Schools," said Tiffany Miller, whose son, Nick Hires, plays trombone in the band.
The band was invited to play at Pearl Harbor on the battleship Missouri for Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood next July 4. But it has a lot of work to do before it can make the trip across the country.
"It is a quite expensive trip," Miller said of the $150,000 that must be raised by Oct. 1 to reserve travel for the students and their chaperones.
Miller said she feels this trip is an important opportunity for the kids in the band, even as the economy forces people to tighten their belts.
"With all the education cuts and everything that's going on with the economy, the arts and music and culture, that cannot be lost," Miller said. "That's so important to keep in these kids' lives."
And in order to raise such a hefty amount for those who can't afford the trip, Miller said the band had to get creative.
"We're hitting this from every possible angle. We're trying to exhaust every avenue," Miller said.
The band will hold garage sales, silent auctions and many other fundraisers. It also is setting up an account with SunTrust Bank that will allow anyone to make a tax-deductible donation at any branch.
"We will accept any type of donation or sponsorship that is brought our way," Miller said.
Miller said the Honor Band of Southern Hall County's directors, Jones and Phillips, have created multiple award-winning bands, which is unique in such a small community.
"I know from our West Hall standpoint, Mr. Phillips is renowned in his field," Miller said pointing out that both men receive prestigious invitations for their bands to perform. "Their reputations just precede them, and this is a good group of kids."