HYATTSVILLE, Md. (WJLA) — They're less than a week off of summer break and DeMatha's High School band is hard at work.
The Hyattsville School's wind ensemble is readying itself for what may be these students biggest performance of their lives.
Thirty-five DeMatha students will play at Joint Base Andrews when the Holy Father touches down on Sept. 22.
The invitation to play at the Pope's arrival came in late July while the band was on summer break. That means they have an extremely limited amount of time to practice for their performance.
DeMatha senior Ben Busch plays the French horn.
"Usually we don't learn songs this fast and now we have to learn like eight or nine songs in a few weeks," Busch said.
Band leader Jim Roper said preparing nearly a dozen songs in such a short time frame is challenging.
"Normally we have two to three to four months to get ready for a performance. Here, we have three weeks to get ready for the performance," Roper said.
Students say they're honored to be a part of the Pope's arrival. Junior J.R. Ayers knows they can't make any mistakes.
"When I first realized that the Pope was coming, I figured it was going to be the military bands that would do it. So when I heard we had the opportunity to do what a lot of professional musicians are doing, it was really quite exciting," Ayers said.