Thanks to a nomination by U.S. Congressman Mark Walker, the Northern Guilford Marching Nighthawks will perform in our nationís capital on Memorial Day. | Photo courtesy of Strawbridge Studios
by Marc Pruitt
The Northern Guilford Marching Nighthawks are heading to our nation's capital to perform in the largest Memorial Day parade in the country on Monday, May 28, from 2-4 pm.
Along with band director Michael Courey, 45 band members and 10 chaperones have been busy preparing for the trip since they found out last fall they had been invited to participate.
U.S. Congressman Mark Walker, who represents the 6th District in North Carolina, nominated the band to perform.
"When we found out, we talked it over with the administration and we agreed that if we were asked to do something like this, we needed to do it," Courey said. "This wasn't supposed to be a year for us to travel anywhere because we went to Disney last year, but this is such a huge honor and we felt like it was our duty to represent our state and fulfill that in DC."
Courey and his band have been rehearsing since January for their performance, which will be a continuous loop of music played all along the three-mile strip of Constitution Avenue.
"We'll be playing a composition from William Moffit called 'American Prelude,' which is a series of feel-good American pieces and patriotic songs with various marches, songs for our various military branches, and the Northern Guilford fight song, 'Hail to the Mighty Northern Nighthawks.' In between, we'll fill time with drumline cadence. We're looking forward to it."
Donna Camp, president of the Northern Guilford Music Boosters, has been spearheading fundraising efforts to help offset the costs associated with the trip, which are about $660 per person and will cover the charter bus, food, lodging and various incidental expenses like dry cleaning the band uniforms.
"We've been busy since the fall raising money to help offset the cost so that not everyone is paying out of pocket," Camp said. "We've worked concessions at the Greensboro Coliseum, held a swing dancing event at the school, and our drumline has performed on occasion at some stores around the area for donations. Any donations we can get - water bottles, snacks, money, etc. - until we leave will be most appreciated."
The band will leave the school the morning of Friday, May 25, and will have a dedicated tour guide for the duration of their trip. In addition to performing, band members and chaperones will tour the city and participate in several events over the course of the weekend.
"We still have a lot of work to do before we leave, but we're chipping away at everything," Courey said. "I don't think we fully understand yet how big of a deal this is, but we are honored to be able to do it. We are excited that we get the chance to represent our school, our community, and our state on a national level."
want to help?
Contact Donna Camp, Northern Guilford Music Boosters president, at (336) 339-4918.