Downingtown band's Rose Parade dream in jeopardy

PHILADELPHIA - December 27, 2010

HAPPY UPDATE: Downingtown band heads to Rose Bowl after all

Inside the band room at Downingtown East High School Monday night, Band Director Mr. Brent Lewis' lecture sounded a sour note.

Before a room full of students bearing not instruments, but signs reading "Help Us Get There," he announced Mother Nature had disrupted some very significant plans. Because of snow, this band won't be part of this weekend's Tournament of Roses' Parade. This is because the two planes on which the more than 150 students were set to fly tomorrow are now cancelled.

"It's a dire situation in that only half the band is scheduled to fly out to Pasadena," Mr. Lewis said.

"We packed and we're all ready to go and we're excited," band member Abbi Raciti said.

Numbering almost 350 students, the marching band was one of just 12 in the country selected for the honor and the only one from Pennsylvania. They were told they would be part of the parade in October of last year and the students were getting ready ever since.

"Since then we've been practicing nonstop on our parade music and stuff like that, and we've been doing our field show a lot," band member Eric Hamilton said.

And, equally as grueling, they've been raising money to make the trip - lots of money.

"For the student portion of this trip, the students have raised, and monies donated, we're talking about half a million dollars," Mr. Lewis said.

The effort to raise all that money has made this a community project; each student has given back at least 20 hours of community service.

Much of the money might end up down the drain, unless someone with some way to get to Pasadena, steps forward. The band's instruments were shipped last week. The question now is if the students will be there to play them.

"We've been working so hard and we're so ready to go out there and show them what we can do, but we can't get out there and it's really upsetting," Abbi said as she held back tears.

Aware of what it means, and how hard they've worked, Continental Airlines tells Action News they're working hard to get the kids to California.

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