BENICIA, Calif. - The Benicia High School marching band is used to working together to make music, now they're banding together to raise money for those devastated by the fires burning around the Bay Area.
The school year should look and sound much different than it does this year for the Benicia High Panthers Marching Band. School should be back in session, and band members should be tuning up for the school year.
Instead, those teens are home because of COVID-19 and are watching parts of the Bay Area burn.
The band has been through a lot over the last six months. A planned trip to New York was canceled, along with competitions, and games —all the ways these musicians can show off their skills.
Instead, they're showing off their teamwork, working together to gather donations to help those who have had to leave their homes because of the firestorms raging through parts of the Bay Area.
"It's selfish to just focus on yourself," said senior Delainey Kelly. "Our hardships are hard, it was definitely hard to lose our band trip. And it was definitely hard to[adjust] from being in school every day to being on the computer. But, these people that we're helping they're going through harder things than we are at this point."
The students say since they can't gather together to play they will instead gather donations to help those in need.
"These were all some of my closest friends, and just the fact that we're all here doing this together, it's just the ultimate team in my opinion," said senior Justice Gardner.
While the students are driving the effort, school band director Patrick Martin will be coaching from the sidelines, keeping the students and donors safe and socially distant as they gather the essentials.
"We're hoping for supplies like water and tents and non-perishable food clothing," said Martin. "This is my 14th or 15th year here at Benicia and the ability of the kids to really come together and rise up for situations like this is amazing."
The band will be accepting donations Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m/ at the 9th Street Park in Benicia. Donors will be able to drop off items without getting out of their vehicles, and the band is hoping donations don't just come in from Benicia, but all over the Bay Area.