Move Over Madoff, Here Come the Marching Trojans

trash tuba.jpgI, for one, feel duped. This morning I received the itinerary for the J.P. Taravella High School Marching Band's trip to Washington DC, where they are to perform in president-elect Barack Obama's inuguration parade. Band director Neil Jenkins had told me that the youngsters would be doing some sightseeing, but three whole days of it? C'mon!

The Marching Trojans have made public appeals for donations to cover the cost of the $150,000 trip. So far, the 173-member band has raised $110,000 -- including $10,000 from charitable Miami Heat hoopster Dwyane Wade. For comparison, the 420-member band from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee says it needs just $175,000 for their trip. FAMU vp of university relations Carla Willis tells New Times that the school band has neither the time nor financial resources to partake in much sightseeing. "Students need to be back for class, so they're going to go up for the parade and pretty much come back," Willis says. Both schools representing Florida will be traveling by bus. The Taravella participants will spend three nights in hotels. FAMU's band members get two.

After the jump, a run-down of the Marching Trojans' schedule.

  • Depart from Taravella in Coral Springs at noon this Friday, January 16th. Arrive in DC Saturday morning, lunch at Union Station, meet guides for sightseeing and a trip to Arlington Cemetary.
  • Sunday is another day of sightseeing with "opportunities" to see the Smithsonian and "other points of interest in the Mall area." That night, students will tour most of the memorials, WWII, Lincoln, etc.
  • On Monday the group will "hopefully get some rehearsal time in before leaving for a day trip to Mt. Vernon and Old Town Alexandria"
  • The band will wake up "bright and early" Tuesday to pack and prepare for the parade. They must report to the Pentagon parking lot for a security check at 10:30 am, with the parade scheduled to begin around 2:00 pm. At about 5:30 p.m., the group will board buses for the 20-hour drive home to Florida .
Here's an idea. Take the $110,000, get reservations at a Motel Six, a Super 8, or something else with a numeral in its title, located in a neighborhood that will help students understand the scourge of poverty in America. Time your trip to coincide with 59-cent cheeseburger day. And then -- this is the most important part of all -- be content with merely having the privilege of honking your instruments within earshot of the New Leader of the Free World.

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