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A community marching band in West Palm Beach County, Florida, is making sweet sounds — and creating a pathway to success for its young members along the way.
The Sounds of Success Warriors have their sights set on traveling to London in June 2023 to participate in London Band Week.
The opportunity includes a chance to march in the Palace Parade Review in the King’s Garden at London’s Historic Royal Palace, Hampton Court — as well as a slate of other musical and educational opportunities.
Living up to their name, the band is already successful.
In May, they earned first place in the Viewer’s Choice Battle of the Bands competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
Antoine Miller, founder and conductor of Sounds of Success (SOS), said that every member of the band has a “strong passion and love for what we do.”
Antoine Miller, founder and conductor of Sounds of Success in West Palm Beach County, Florida, stays focused on the educational opportunities for the young people who participate in marching band. (Dreamlite Media)
The marching band will take anyone from ages 5 to 23 who lives in the county into their program.
The band uses donated instruments. As a registered nonprofit, the group does not receive public funding.
The goals for students are education-focused. Miller told Fox News Digital that putting “marching band” on a college resume could make “all the difference” for a hopeful student.
“Ultimately, our pleasure and pride comes from getting the kids into college,” Miller said.
He himself began playing drums in a marching band in middle school and “fell in love” with performing, he said. He subsequently learned saxophone, playing throughout high school.
The SOS marching band forms a heart on the field during one of their performances. (Dreamlite Media)
He attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he participated in marching band at the college level.
Afterward, he “came back and started working with our local district here,” he said.
Beginning with just 15 participants in 2018, SOS now has over 100 participants.
“Some kids come with musical experience, some come without, and they come with different levels of financial ability. Everyone gets to participate.”
“Kids come from as far as 25 miles [away] just to be in the program,” said Miller.
If an interested youngster wants to be in SOS but can’t afford the small fee to join — no worries.
“Some kids come with musical experience, some come without, and they come with different levels of financial ability. Everyone gets to participate,” said Miller.
“We always find a way.”
Sounds of Success member Ja’Niyah Johnson plays a trombone. (Dreamlite Media)
“A lot of our families aren’t able to afford an instrument,” he said. “One sousaphone [a tuba used in marching band] costs about $5,000.”
Miller noted the many benefits for children and young adults who are able to be part of a marching band — calling participation “an honor and a privilege.”
Marching band members learn discipline, said Miller.
“A lot of the kids nowadays may have gone astray,” he said, “but marching band is actually very big on discipline. Students must learn their parts.”
They learn how to work collaboratively with others, among other skills.
“They must learn how to listen with a band of 100 people on a field,” he added. “If I’m giving a word as a person is talking — another member may miss it.”
Marching band also “improves classroom skills and education,” said Miller. “A lot of people don’t know that music is 100% fractions.”
“I compare the whole note to a dollar. A dollar is four quarters and a whole note is four beats. So, if a child understands how to read music, they improve their mathematical skills.”
Band members also become physically fit, said Miller.
“It’s a sport,” he said of marching band, noting that being a part of a 10-mile parade is “a workout.”
SOS member Chris Derilus participates in marching band — and his grandmother is happy he’s part of Sounds of Success. “It’s a good thing for him,” she told Fox News Digital. (Dreamlite Media)
“We train the child from scratch, and it pays off,” he said — noting the pride his whole team feels when a student receives a college scholarship.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” he said.
One grateful grandmother agrees. Germaine Joseph’s grandson, Chris Derilus, participates in Sounds of Success.
“If a child understands how to read music, they improve their mathematical skills.”
“It’s a good thing for him,” she told Fox News Digital by phone. “It’s better for him to be doing that than to stay home. He might use this later in life, too.”
What has made SOS successful enough to score an invitation from London Band Week?
A few things set this band apart, Miller said. For one thing: “We have a great name! I named this Sounds of Success because it speaks of what we truly are.”
Antoine Miller hoists the group’s first-place trophy from the Atlanta competition in May 2022. (Dreamlite Media)
Miller added that they use dance moves and “warrior chants.”
“When we come inside a stadium we chant loudly to our audience. Everyone feels our presence.”
Careful song selection and the colors the band wears are important, too.
“It is our chance to represent America and represent her well.”
“We wear the black and gold — metallic gold — and we have shoes that light up when we march,” said Miller.
Miller and his team hope to take their passion all the way across the pond next year to London Band Week.
“We are desperately trying to get there,” said Miller, noting the hefty $500,000 price tag for air flights, passports, performance uniforms, accommodations and other expenses.
Miller and his team have created a Fundly account to accept any donations for the educational trip.
SOS is thrilled to have been asked, as the event is invitation-only.
“Bands are invited to participate based on two simple election criteria,” reads the dedicated website for the event — “core values and principles, and passion for performance excellence.”
“While in London, the band will be part of our community and experience our culture while at the same time showcase who they are and what they represent.”
“It is our chance to represent America and represent her well,” said Miller.
Dr. G.O. Jones MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), president of London Band Week, is thrilled at the prospect of welcoming Sounds of Success to London.
“The Sounds of Success Marching Band is a very unique and special organization,” he said in an email to Fox News Digital.
“Their infectious positivity, steadfast determination and unwavering courage are just a few of the attributes which made the band leap out at the Participation Committee here at London Band Week.”
He continued, “The SOS will shine bright in London! Their style and energized performances will be very popular at both the Palace Parade Review and the London Tattoo at the Royal Victoria Dock.”
Jones added, “While in London, the band will be part of our community and experience our culture while at the same time showcase who they are and what they represent.”
“We look forward to welcoming the Sounds of Success Marching Band to London in the summer of 2023 and encourage everyone to support this fabulous group on their trip to London — nulli secundus [second to none]!”
The overarching benefit always comes back to furthering the students’ education, Miller indicated.
“They are going to be able to put on their college essay that they were in a program that traveled to London to perform,” he said.
“That’s going to have every college looking at the kids like, ‘Hey, we have to have you in our program,’” he said.
Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor, lifestyle, with Fox News Digital.