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Rural highschool graduate beats the odds, gets selected to play in All-American D-Day Band

Just 125 juniors and seniors are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants.

WOODHULL, Ill. — According to Daniel Breitenstein, 18, of New Windsor, Illinois, the absence of a trumpet in a band will leave the overall sound sound hollow.

Daniel was selected from a national pool of candidates to play the trumpet in the inaugural All-American D-Day band.

"When I got that email, I was surprised and shocked," Daniel told News 8's Collin Riviello.

The band is made up of 125 high school juniors and seniors, including those who have just graduated this spring, from around the country. They'll play in parades and events honoring lives lost in WWII.

"You miss all the shots you don't take," Daniel said. "If you don't actually audition for it, you'll never know how you'll do."

The band will start in Washington D.C. and then travel to the Normandy region in France and then to Paris across 8 days from May 30-June 8.

When Daniel first applied, after getting nominated by Sherrard High School's band director, he wanted to send a message to rural American students like himself.

"Kids from rural America can be the best musicians you ever know," Daniel said. "It really just depends on their determination to be better."

However, though Daniel has made the cut and also has never been on an airplane before, his opportunity almost flew away months before he was even selected.

"Up to that point, I had only told a couple people that I was a finalist," Daniel said. And those people didn't include his own mother or father.

His mother, Jaclyn Breitenstein, said it was because he was nervous of the trip's price tag of $5,000.

But due to his parents' efforts to fundraise money, they say they have about half of it accounted for.

"It's really something for him to go and be doing this," Daniel's father, Shawn Breitenstein, said. "It's good to see a young kid doing and taking his time to devote to it. I'm proud."

If you'd like to contribute to his travel costs, Daniel's family says donations can be sent to his mother's P.O. Box address of Jaclyn Breitenstein, 212 N. Division St. P.O. Box 111 Woodhull, Illinois 61490.

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