NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A big honor for one local high school band. The Heritage High School “Incomparable Marching Storm” has been selected to represent Virginia in the National Independence Day Parade on July 4.

Now, band members of Newport News’s Heritage High say their challenge is to raise enough money to get everyone to D.C., and hold the band together through the first half of summer vacation.

Jae Brown, director of bands at Heritage High, got the news a few weeks ago. And coming off of pandemic lockdowns and limited local band trips, he says his talented ‘Canes are ready!

“It’s been a hard year,” says Emonie Mccallum, a 3rd year band member and co-drum major.

Heritage 3rd year band member Javon Powell agrees: “We’ve had our ups and downs.”

Senior drum major Dominic Banks can hardly wait to hit the road. “I wanna go to D.C. for the new experience.”

Heritage High director of bands, Jae Brown says earning this trip to D.C. is an honor.

“[The Independence Day Parade selection committee] saw videos of our program and they said ‘Hey! we want to choose this band to represent the state of Virginia.”

“It feels like an honor for us to go out and not only represent Newport News, but to represent the entire state of Virginia, as well.”

Brown says Heritage will send two buses with about 100 band students, and adult supporters to Washington for the parade.

But, before that, cha-ching!

“We’re trying to raise $10,000, which is what we need to cover our buses, registration, and to cover different uniform pieces.” Brown says fundraising is well underway. (More about that, below)

In the meantime, members of the band say they’re prepared to work hard, now, after graduation, and 2 weeks past the end of the school year, to March on Washington this July 4th.

“And, this is my only year that I got to be drum major here, so, (taking) the trip after I graduate is a big opportunity for me,” Banks said.

Band director Brown says he’s hoping to get everybody to D.C, July 4th, “because we want to make sure that every student has [this] opportunity. We don’t want to leave anybody home. We want everybody to go.”

Here’s how you can help.

All donations can be sent to $HHSActivities on cashapp and place band in the memo, or checks can be mailed to Heritage High School.