The sound of a small band bound for the big apple can be heard in Mariposa County. "Some of us haven't even been on a plane before, so yeah it's pretty exciting," said band member Joey Curti.
The Mariposa County High School Band is the only one from California chosen to perform in this year's Veterans Day Parade in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
"I think as a group we're just thrilled and really honored to be able to do this," said band member Daniella Rogerson.
These young musicians are also honored to perform for a director who has become their hero. "I don't know anyone in the world I respect more than Dr. Smith. He is the most incredible person I've ever met," said Rogerson.
The Vietnam veteran pushes his students to excel, and doesn't back down despite his ongoing battle with cancer. Doctor Phillip Smith says the kids inspire him to keep fighting. "Outside of my family, they mean everything. This is what I live to do."
Together this group has proved the power of perservence. Winning numerous awards, including a Grammy, on a very limited budget. That's why the Grizzlies are so thankful for the community support that has made their trip to New York possible.
"We've got 18,000 people in Mariposa County, and we've raised in excess of 100,000 dollars, and it's all mainly through the efforts of the community, our boosters, and the service organizations. That's phenomenol, unbelievable," said Smith.
The funding will also help the band experience more of New York, from Broadway shows to a private tour of the new Ground Zero Museum.
"Oh, everything is so overwhelming, how much we are going to do there," said Juliana Bodfish.
But for now the band is focusing on its last few days of practice before taking center stage in the big city on November 11th. "This is definitely nerve wracking, but I think we're going to be awesome. I think we've practiced so hard it's going to be great," said Rogerson.