We all know the Grant Union High School drum line. The group from Del Paso Heights has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and performed in Japan.
But now they have a new endeavor: To get the attention of Oprah Winfrey.
The drum line leader, James Van Buren, posted a video of the high school students on YouTube asking Oprah to sponsor them on a trip to South Africa so they can perform at her all-girls academy just outside of Johannesburg.
“I want it to go viral,” Van Buren, who the students call Mr. V, told ABC10. “We need to reach out to her. And the only way that’s going to happen, because she is very busy at this moment, is if her friends say, ‘listen, there’s a group of students that have a video and they’re talking to directly to you, Oprah.’”
Mr. V said he chose South Africa after realizing his students had a misconception about the country.
“They need to know that there are cities in Africa just like L.A.,” he said. “And plus, just the culture. We’re from Africa, we’re African American. We need to know more about Africans than some perspective view that has been given to them through television.”
Susie Navarro, a sophomore who plays the bass, is one of the students hoping to go on the trip.
“I want to learn how other people are different from here and other people don’t have the same opportunities we have,” she said. “Mr. V wants us to see what life is like in other countries and to just do what we love.”
Mr. V is asking for support from the Sacramento community.
He said the most helpful thing that people who want to support their mission can do is to watch and share their video.
“I need the help of everybody,” he said. “Not only the Del Paso Heights community, not only Sacramento, but everyone in the U.S. who are behind kids who are about hard work and everything.”