The possibility of an overseas dream is on the brink of fruition for student musicians of Detroit’s Martin Luther King High School Marching Band. As the world gathers in London, Great Britain, this summer to watch the 2012 Olympics, many Detroiters will anxiously await four live performances as one of the nation’s top high school bands play an array of jazz, symphonic and marching band music.
The students have received sizable amounts of financial support. However, according to Victoria Miller, band director and acclaimed music educator, the deadline is approaching fast and they’re still in need of more than $10,000 to fulfill their overseas dream.
The $280,000 expense for this venture will cover insurance costs, airfare and hotel expenses for sixty students and ten adult chaperones.
Miller looks forward to going to London to put on a great show. The band plans to wear Detroit tees for the world to see and to represent the city proudly. She was adamant about defying the misconceptions outsiders have about the city. During one of their travels, a bystander said, “When I’d think of Detroit, I’d think of guns, fire and burning buildings. Now, I think of (a great) band.”
It all started in May 2011 when she was contacted by the Music Tour Group and the band was invited to perform at the Olympics. Fearing she could not successfully handle such a huge undertaking, she declined the invitation and passed it on to Detroit’s All City Marching Band who in turn decided to give it back to the King High School band.
Surprisingly, in January 2012, Miller was contacted by a local travel company that heard about their quest for funding and offered to pay for their travel expenses. Last December, the group received $10,000 from 20th Century Fox’s “Glee” Give a Note Contest.
More than $200,000 was received from UAW workers across Michigan.
“We’ve managed to raise $263,000 as of last Monday — $1,600 from M&M candy and bake sales,” Miller said. “A group of senior citizens even gave us $300 worth of bottles and pop cans. We’re so grateful to all the people who gave.”
The bandleader passionately expressed her gratitude for all the donations and consistent media coverage the band received since she agreed to take on this venture.
Those who wish to donate can mail them to Martin Luther King Band, 3200 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48207. Checks should be made payable to ML King Band.