High school band raising money to march in London

London's mayor invites Batesburg-Leesville H.S. Band to 2015 New Year's Day parade (Source: Mark Anderson)
London's mayor invites Batesburg-Leesville H.S. Band to 2015 New Year's Day parade (Source: Mark Anderson)

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) - Trophies line the shelf running around the band room at Batesburg-Leesville High School.

But the band's most highly-anticipated accomplishment is an opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime. The band is the only one in South Carolina to be invited to perform in London's annual New Year's Day parade.

But the kids have to raise about $3,400 each to pay for the trip.

"I'm really excited because I think if it hadn't been for band, I probably wouldn't go alone," said Emily Gantz, who starts her junior year in September. "I'm trying to do the best I can to get as many sponsors and donations as possible."

In addition to rehearsing, the kids and their parents are gathering donations.

"Please help us," said Alisha Thomas, who just finished her sophomore year. "I'll love to go! Please please, please! I'm begging, please!"

London's mayor visited the school earlier this year to invite the kids to her city to perform on January 1, 2015.

"I'm very excited, actually, and I think it's a one-time thing," said Thomas. "So why not go, enjoy life while you can, while you're young?"

"This may be the only time in my life I'll be able to experience something like this," said Jacob Lawson, who will be a senior next year. "It being my senior year, it makes it that much more special. "

Lawson's father visited London when he was in the military.

"I want to be able to experience the same thing he did. So that's why it's important to me," he said.

The band has a series of fundraisers planned to help pay for the trip. A golf tournament is scheduled for June 21st at Persimmon Hill Golf Club in Saluda. Call 803-532-6512 or send an e-mail to participate or donate.

"Please help us get to London," said Gantz. "It's a once-in-a lifetime experience."

"If there is any way you could possibly help, it would be deeply appreciated," Lawson said.

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