OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Old Bridge High School band is traveling to France Tuesday night to help commemorate the 71st D-Day Anniversary in Normandy.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu was at the Marching Knight’s final rehearsal. The band is one of only five U.S. bands chosen to take part in the ceremonies marking the 71st Anniversary of World War II invasion in Normandy.
“This is a once in a lifetime event for our students here and it’s something that they’re going to carry with them for a lifetime,” said Band Director Melissa Thatcher. “I’m very, very proud of them.”
The Marching Knights have won state and national championships and were approached last year by American Veterans to represent the entire East Coast at the ceremonies in France.
Along with about 600 hours of practice time, members have been learning all they can about what happened on June 6th, 1944.
“It’s going to be really cool because we’re playing ‘The Longest Day,’ which is in the movie ‘The Longest Day’ about Normandy Beach and D-Day,” said sophomore Abby Reifenheiser.
For many members, this will be their first trip outside the United States.
“This is going to be my first international trip,” said freshman Matt Soriano. “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be cool”
It’s been a lot of work as the band did a lot of fundraising to help pay for the trip, which costs more than $3,000 for each student.
But the kids say it’s been worth it and they can’t wait to show the people of France what the Marching Knights can do.
“Performing a great show, knowing you made others happy and you’re doing well for your school and you’re representing them — it just feels amazing,” said band member Kaelyn Chahalis
The band is scheduled for several performances throughout France and then the students will head back home next Wednesday.