The Lake Highlands High School Marching Band has been invited to march in the 2006 New Year’s Day Parade in London.

But band members must first overcome a major obstacle: money. To get 127 band members and chaperones across the deep, they need to raise about $150,000.

The Youth Music organization, which helps organize the parade, contacted university band directors around the country and asked which bands they thought were the best. Two or three directors nominated the LHHS band to play for the Queen. More than half a million spectators are expected to be at the parade, and it will be televised for about 55 million viewers.

“We did not solicit this. They found us,” says Jerry Nagid, president of the Lake Highlands Area Band Club. “So this is a very select invitation.”

Being one of the top bands in Texas requires hard work. The LHHS band has been invited to perform at the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago four times, more than any other high school. They’ve also been nationally recognized for the past 35 years.

“The Lake Highlands band program is comprised of some of the best students around, I’m really proud to be a part of it,” says band director Marion West.

While students and parents are excited about the opportunity, they are faced with the task of raising money for the trip. But the Band Club is determined to not let this event pass them by.

Because many of the band’s students need financial assistance, the Band Club decided to charge $700 per student, and they plan to come up with money for the rest of the bill. To do this, they’ll hold a handful of fundraisers, solicit sponsors and additional help from the community.

“We know this is an astronomical amount of money,” Nagid says. “We are hoping to raise $25,000 to $35,000 with the three to four fundraisers, but corporate sponsorships are so vital.”

The Band Club has set up different sponsorship levels, and they also are soliciting individual donations.

“This is a daunting task, but it’s all the kids are talking about,” Nagid says. “There are no guarantees in this, but we will leave no stone unturned. We need the assistance of Lake Highlands and the city of Dallas.”