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Special Needs Drum Corps From Long Island Gives History-Making Performance At World Championships

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (CBSNewYork) – A special needs drum corps from Long Island is making history this Labor Day weekend.

They were invited to perform and compete at the drum corps world championships in Williamsport, Pennsylvania back in April.

Thanks to a crowdfunding effort that quickly went viral, the FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps made it to the event with cash to spare.

Seeking $20,000 to get the Old Bethpage group to the prestigious Drum Corps Associates World Championships, donors on GoFundMe ended up raising over $24,000 for the group.

On Friday, FREE sent their first ever color guard member – a young woman named Lauren – onto the stage for an inspiring performance set to the song "Pure Imagination."

Their performance is the first time a special needs drum and bugle corps has been selected to perform at the DCA Word Championships.

DCA shared more of the group's performances on their social media accounts from the weekend event's opening ceremonies on Friday.

DCA welcomes the Free Players!!

Posted by Drum Corps Associates on Friday, August 30, 2019

All of them are part of the theater day-program at the non-profit Family Residences and Essential Enterprises in New York.

They rehearse once a week at their Old Bethpage center together and then perform in parades and other competitions across the country.

The championships in Williamsport go on through Sunday when a winner will be crowned, but it's clear the FREE players and their inspiring journey have already stolen the show.

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