Caleb Privett, a Shafter High senior, will ring in the new year in the United Kingdom, leading a band through downtown London as part of their New Year's Day Parade.
Caleb is excited about the opportunity and is looking forward to going overseas to continue his musical journey.
He began playing in the school band in the seventh grade and is proficient in the bass guitar, tuba and trombone. He is the head drum major at Shafter High, conducting the music and leading the team during their on-field performances.
He attended a drum major camp earlier in the summer and was selected as one of the top drum majors at the event, securing his invitation to the world-renowned parade.
"I was selected because of my performance at the camp," Caleb explained. "That pretty much cemented the chance to travel to London."
Caleb has a GoFundMe page online to help finance the trip. "The trip altogether will cost around $7,500," he said. "We have to finance the trip ourselves, with no help from the organization. It is our responsibility to raise the money."
Caleb said that they will be busy fundraising over the next couple of months. He recently was at Shafter High helping conduct the school band's Band Camp, which helps prepare the students for the upcoming competition and football season. "We travel to several competitions and perform at the home football games. So, we are really excited to get the season started."
Caleb's mother, Jami Kirschenmann, said that she is excited for her son and opportunity. "Caleb has worked very hard at perfecting his conducting skills, so he can be the best drum major and leader this coming school year. I am so happy to see that hard work pay off."
She will be accompanying Caleb to London, sharing in the experience. He said that he will arrive on Saturday, Dec. 26, and will spend the next five days in the city. "We will be working very hard, but we will still have some time to see London and get to experience another country. I am so grateful for this opportunity."
Caelb said that he encourages everyone to make sure to support the Shafter Generals Marching Band during the football season and said that they would appreciate any support that "this wonderful community provides every year."
[Editor's note: A previous version of this story in the Aug. 10 edition erroneously stated the last names of Caleb and his mother.]