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FOCUS File The New York Mills Marching Eagles have been chosen to participate in the July 4, 2012 National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

New York Mills Marching Band chosen for Washington, D.C. parade

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The New York Mills High School Marching Band was recently invited to represent Minnesota in the 2012 National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

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The Marching Eagles will be joining government officials, national military units, sponsored floats, helium balloons and other specialty units in the parade.

Director Blake Groe was informed of the honor based on the decision of the National Selection Committee, which considered and reviewed the band's performances and determined the band would represent Minnesota well in the parade.

The parade route is on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street. A street audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators is anticipated. The National Park Service and the National Independence Day Parade are the co-sponsors of the event.

The parade will be a reflection of many American patriotic themes, both historical and present.

While the Marching Eagles are in Washington, D.C. the band will have a complete program of sightseeing and other cultural activities as part of their experience. Following the parade on July 4, they will join several hundred thousand tourists to enjoy the televised performance of the National Symphony in front of the U.S. Capitol Building and the spectacular fireworks display that follows.

Groe said he plans on inviting community members not involved with the band program to attend the trip as a way of thanking the community for its support.

Although specific details are pending, Groe said there are plans to open another bus (55 people per bus) for community members to accompany the band, and for some to be involved in the parade.

"This trip to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July, 2012 has become more of a community trip than a marching band one," Groe said.

A meeting for the first week of the new school year later this fall will provide details about the time frame and the cost of the trip.

Groe said the marching band program will be doing major fundraising leading up to the 2012 trip. As students are fundraising money for the trip, the program will also be fundraising for equipment. The band needs to raise more than $100,000 before traveling to Washington, D.C., he said.

The first fundraising event for the marching band will be a concert and barbeque on Friday, June 10 from 5-7:30 p.m. in Central Park in NY Mills. The meal will consist of a burger or hotdog, chips, pickle, bar and lemonade for $5. The concert will start at 6:30 p.m.

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