RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A community band hoping to make a big trip overseas received a big surprise on Tuesday.
The Sounds of Success Community Marching Band is trying to raise enough money to fly to London for Band Week in June of 2023. They're the only community band in the country invited to the prestigious event.
But they have a long way to go for their dream to become a reality.
The SOS band needs to raise a lot of money for the trip — including $50,000 just for a down payment — in just a matter of weeks or they can't go.
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The band, thankfully, got some star power Tuesday evening when Palm Beach County rapper Vanilla Ice surprised students while they were practicing at Riviera Beach Preparatory Academy.
The rapper, whose real name is Rob Van Winkle, encouraged band members to follow their dreams in music.
"We all have to wake up with something to do, a purpose, a meaning, a drive," Vanilla Ice said. "It's not just the kids that are playing the music, but all the mentors out here giving these kids the musical direction."
More than 100 students from multiple area schools participate in the SOS band, ranging in age from 5 years old all the way up to high schoolers.
"These kids are in our city. They're representing Palm Beach. They're our neighbors. So let's put some money in the pot for them and send them to London and compete," Vanilla Ice said.
To raise money for the trip, the SOS band has launched a raffle. Each ticket costs $100 and will give you the chance to win six prizes including a BMW 330i, 2023 Hyundai Venue, a VIP luxury yacht trip, golf at the Wellington Golf Club, or an 85-inch TV.
Raffle tickets are on sale through 5 p.m. on Dec. 16. To purchase a raffle ticket, click here.
"If they go to London and compete, they're representing Palm Beach County, and that's what it's all about," Vanilla Ice said. "If we can raise they money for them, it's a big ticket."
Band director Antoine Miller said they have a lot of fundraising to do.
"We are right now trying to raise $50,000 for our down payment, which is due by the 25th of this month," Miller said.
Vanilla Ice encouraging the kids to follow their dreams.
"I did 'Ice, Ice Baby' when I was 16 years old," the rapper said. "And it takes that time of life to all of this inspiration and become who you are."
Band member Jazmyn Holmes, 13, is excited about the possibility of going to London.
"I like the energy that we have," Holmes said. "We are so driven to do what we love."