SeaTac band readies to play at Obama's inauguration

SEATAC, Wash. -- A few months ago, the band at Global Connections High School -- formerly Tyee High, was invited to play at the presidential inauguration, but the question was: could they raise enough money?

$60,000 later, they're heading to Washington, D.C.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm glad I'm getting it," said clarinet player Mihret Haile.

They raised they money through tree sales, potlucks, performances -- you name it. And at a school where 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches, nothing is taken for granted. More than half of the band has never been in an airplane before.

"It's amazing that the kids live within 2 miles of the airport, go to school a mile from the airport, and have never been to the airport or on an airplane," said band conductor Lynetta Nelthropp.

They'll see the sights, visit the Smithsonian, watch the president take his oath of office, and maybe, just maybe at the inauguration festival, Mr. Obama will be watching.

"I'm completely excited about that," said saxophone player Brianna Collins. "I completely adore him and I'm excited that he might be able to hear us do what we love."

Also while they're in D.C., the band will get a tour of the capitol from Congressman Adam Smith who went to Tyee High School back in the day. The congressman also gave the largest single donation to the band for their trip.