Members of the Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray Band heaved a big sigh of relief yesterday after finally meeting their funding target for their historic two-week journey to the 2012 London Olympics next week.
Musical director Will DeWitt, on behalf of the entire band and the school, expressed gratitude for the new donations they received this week that helped them reach their target of $250,000.
DeWitt disclosed that the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation responded very generously and donated $10,000 to the band on Thursday with only one request-to “represent the CNMI with pride.”
“We are very thankful for that gift and their continued support,” DeWitt said.
The band also received donations from other donors this week, including IT&E, which donated $500 and many prizes for the bowlers who will attend the band's bowling tournament today and tomorrow at the Saipan Bowling Center in Oleai.
Pacific Development Inc. also gave the band $3,000 yesterday in the form of an educational tax credit donation and $3,500 from Board of Education members Herman T. Guerrero, Marylou Ada, and Galvin Deleon Guerrero.
Herman's Bakery also gave the group $2,000 this week and other groups and companies such as Bridge Capital, Marianas Resort, and Fil-Taga Golfers Association made separate donations.
“I am overjoyed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from so many individuals, organizations, and businesses! We want to make everyone proud next week!” DeWitt promised.
He said they made their final payments that were due in London yesterday and that all ground expenses for the group are now covered.
The band needed $250,000 to bring the entire 46-member delegation to London for the two-week trip. Band members have been busy doing fundraisers and concerts since last year to raise the cash.
The band will be performing in four different venues in London. These include a performance at the Westminster Abbey, Queen Elizabeth's Conference Center, at a torch ceremony in Central London, and the bonus show at the Olympic Park. The group is set to leave Monday, July 23.
The Olympic Games in London will feature 26 sports and has around 10,500 athletes from around the world.
The Manta Ray Band bagged the gold medal awards at the Tumon Bay Musical Festival in 2007 and 2008. In April last year, it won the silver award at an international competition in New York City. The Manta Ray Band has also performed at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.