WASHINGTON D.C., DC — From the hallways of Eastern High School, the melodious tunes of the Blue and White Marching Machine can be heard. Led by their director, James Perry, you’ll rarely find this band at ease.
"They keep me young," he said.
Perry's award-winning band recently received thousands of dollars in donations after a feature in the Washington Post brought worldwide attention. Perry said now they’ll be able to get new uniforms, new instruments and help pay for travel, when the band heads to competitions.
“What we're doing here is we're molding young men and young women into productive citizens of this nation," the director said. "We want them to be well rounded individuals we want them to be academically successful."
Amari Reynolds is a junior who just joined the band this year.
“We have a very large legacy, especially in the city, and seeing people come out really puts it into perspective," Reynolds said. "Like, this has been a band that's been known for decades and I'm finally a part of it."
When the cadence of life picks up, other band members said they rely on the band to help keep their lives in time. For, Davon Richardson said he saw a longer-term future in marching band than in athletic opportunities.
“Something I feel like could carry me for a longer way that football," Richardson said. "More discipline can set a better example for me."
"Every day I come in here, I want to be better than the day I was before," Jayson Bassil added. "It's a lot of people and a lot of positivity in this room."
Perry often takes the band out into the neighborhood to practice. Located along the edge of Capitol hill, there’s not a lot of space for them to get outdoor practice. But whether they are inside or out, these musicians are ready to fall in line when it’s time to put on a show, and say they are grateful for the donations to help them keep doing so.
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