Andrew Brown, a trumpet player, is the first North Thurston student to be selected for Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps International, a group of 16-to 21-year-olds from the Northwest.
"It was kind of like a dream come true. It's an opportunity of a lifetime, really," he said in a break between packing and practicing this month.
The band is on a two-month tour of cities throughout the country, including cities in Oregon, Wisconsin, Georgia and New York.
Brown had to audition and participate in monthly weekend rehearsals, as well as raise the more than $1,000 entrance fee with the help of a $650 donation from the Band Parent Association.
Practices included learning ballet, which helps the musicians with balance and keeping their feet quiet while they play, Brown said.
He started playing trumpet as a fifth-grader at Pleasant Glade Elementary School and has played nearly every year since.
"I love the sound of the trumpet - it's very soothing. Playing music relieves stress for me. It just relaxes me," he said.
Brown's long-term musical goals include participating in Drum Corps until he is 21. He also wants to play in college for fun, though he plans to major in electrical engineering.
Darren Johnson, North Thurston's band teacher, said it's a prestigious opportunity.
"He'll be an incredible player when he gets back," he said.