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Local marching band gives back by playing to inspire marathon runners

This is a small portion of the 200 member Columbia Heights Educational Campus Marching Band. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — A local marching band chose to take a seat on Sunday to help cheer on runners in the Marine Corps Marathon.

The band played just before mile 19 on the National Mall near 7th Street.

“This is actually our 11th year at this spot with our marching band,” said Amylia Barnett, Arts director at Columbia Heights Educational Campus in Northwest, D.C. “It’s a way for the students to come out and serve the greater good and the great community with their talents.”

Columbia Heights Educational Campus was formerly called Bell Multicultural School. Barnett said the school has a multicultural focus while still being a high school under DCPS.

“There’s narratives of our students, being many different people, who are not always positive. So, this is a way to share their talents in a positive way,” Barnett said.

Barnett said the students have really embraced the band program that started 11 years ago. It now has about 200 students who participate.

Getting high school kids to wake up early on a Sunday to play music for runners shows great things about the human spirit and what can be accomplished when people come together, Barnett said.

“Runners will stop and take pictures with us and will thank us and at the same time, we’re trying to give back to them to help them reach their goal of 26.2 miles,” Barnett said.

So, everyone wins.


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