Responding to a Washington Post article by Hill resident Lizzie Johnson about Eastern High School’s Marching Band, more than 540 readers have donated more than $40,000 to support the band. This amazing outpouring of funds was donated to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation (CHCF), earmarked for Eastern High School’s Blue and White Marching Machine. It happened as Homecoming was celebrated at Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE) the weekend of Oct. 7.
In the week leading up to the parade, the band created a stir as they practiced on the streets of Capitol Hill. When they paraded in full regalia Saturday, Oct. 8 with the Lady Gems dance team, alumni and students, the sight brought out emotions—and, as they say, the Pride of Capitol Hill.
Why does the @EasternMarching always brings tears to my eyes? What a way to start the day with the band marching down our street! Game on! @EasternHS @Mr_JamesDC @W6PSPO pic.twitter.com/apzx1vVTta
— Suzanne Wells (@Sew20003M) October 8, 2022
Eastern Homecoming is in the record books. @EasternHS @Eastern_PTO @DCPSChancellor @DC_2_Brasil @HillRagDC @Eboni_RoseDC @MurielBowser pic.twitter.com/B7NbGfNPWG
— Mark Roy (@MisterMR2u) October 10, 2022
A $90,000 Challenge
CHCF has long supported projects at Eastern High School, including the band. Prior to the pandemic, National Capital Bank initiated a matching grant, pledging $10,000 if the Foundation could raise that amount for Eastern.
At the time, said CHCF President Nicky Cymrot, the foundation was responding to the need for a fund to repair old instruments and to purchase new ones so the band could recruit additional members and continue its performance schedule.
CHCF put the challenge on their website and put it out to the community. They were able to send $20,000 to Eastern High School for the band in the form of the 2019 Arnold F. Keller Jr. Grant, awarded once a year to a worthy neighborhood initiative.
To extend that support for Eastern’s band, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation organized a campaign to raise additional funds, setting an ambitious goal: an additional $90,000 to replace the band’s 10-year-old formal uniforms.
In a testament to the band’s impact, more than 90 percent of its graduating members go on to college, and all who have applied to be in a college band have earned a scholarship — even if they didn’t major in music. “The Eastern High School name carries value,” says assistant director Steven Smith. “We use our connections with HBCU band directors, and they know they’re getting a quality musician.”
You can keep the Pride of Capitol Hill marching on. Donate now to the CHCF Campaign for Pride. You can also send checks to the Eastern High School Band Parent Association, c/o Eastern High School, 1700 E Capitol St. NE, Washington DC, 20002
Learn more about Eastern High School by visiting easternhighschooldcps.org