The collective sound of the Colony High School Band is one director Jamin Burton has honed over the past decade.

The students’ hard work and dedication have earned them trips around the country to play on national stages, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Now the band has been invited to perform in Normandy, France, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

“I feel like the students have such a passion in them and it really shows through the music. And [it] really shows through the director, too, the way he runs everything,” said junior Collin Herbert, the trombone section leader.

Burton said the band will have five performances, one which will highlight Colony’s marching band and the others will be more concert-style.

Colony is also taking a few students from Palmer High and Houston High who have been working closely with the band.

The students will learn Amazing Grace and The Longest Day March, which they’ll play collectively with the other bands invited to the event.

“I really think it's going to be an amazing trip,” said sophomore Weston Moser. “I think we were one of 13 bands selected in our country so, it's really a privilege to be representing Alaska and Colony and the United States.”

Weston plays the sousaphone but will lead the band as the drum major for the D-Day performances.

“Really, it's an honor and a privilege just to be trusted with the responsibility,” he said.

Traveling internationally comes with logistical challenges. Burton said instead of renting instruments, the band will fly their equipment overseas.

Then there’s the cost of getting everyone to Europe.

“Right around three grand times 85, plus the chaperones, we're looking to fundraise about $360,000,” he said.

Students also need to brush up on their history. They have to take an extra class so they understand the importance of the day they’re honoring.

"I think WWII and D-Day and stuff that happened in the Pacific, it's something that speaks to every American. Those were days that changed the shape of the world,” Burton said.

The band has about a year-and-a-half before the June 2019 performance, which Burton said will give them time to raise the money needed and perfect all their pieces for the performances.

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