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Watch First Lady Jill Biden Surprise High School Students Ahead of Their White House Performance

Few people have had high-school experiences more impressive than the Jonesboro High School Majestic Marching Cardinals. At the top of 2024, the student marching band was featured in a commercial for Usher‘s Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show, and just a few weeks later, they were treated to a very special surprise visit from none other than first lady Jill Biden.

The first lady made a surprise virtual visit on Wednesday (March 27) to more than 150 students from Atlanta’s Jonesboro High School during an after-school rehearsal. As Dr. Biden appears on the screen, the students gasp in surprise. “I can’t wait until you come to the White House,” she told the students, before letting the kids know she’s still teaching.

The Majestic Marching Cardinals are set to play at this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll Monday (April 1), and Dr. Biden appeared via Zoom to thank the students for their hard work and dedication ahead of their performance.

“After the call with the first lady, there was a hush over the band room and some students began to cry from all the excitement,” band director Lynel Goodwin tells Billboard. “We took a moment to reflect on how our musical journey and their talents led to an opportunity like this – to perform at the White House. This life-changing opportunity means the world to my students, band parents and our Jonesboro community.”

This year’s White House Easter Egg Roll theme continues the first lady’s commitment to “EGGucation,” a nod to her more than 30 years in the teaching profession. Dr. Biden is set to transform both the South Lawn and the Ellipse into a community full of educational activities, rolling and hunting Easter eggs, a reading nook, a picture day station and a physical “EGGucation” zone.

In addition, there will also be a band hall where the Majestic Marching Cardinals will grace the stage. Several other bands are also slated to perform at the event — which is expected to welcome more than 40,000 guests — including Phoenix’s Tolleson Elementary School District Marching Band, the Independence High School Marching Band from Brambleton, Va., and George Mason University Green Machine of Fairfax, Va.

To continue their momentum, the Majestic Marching Cardinals will also perform at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Under the direction of Goodwin, the Majestic Marching Cardinals have brought their special Atlanta flair to some of America’s grandest stages. Their momentum also lines up with that of student marching bands in general: In 2023, Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands made history as the first marching band to with the Grammy for best roots gospel album (The Urban Hymnal).

Watch a clip of first lady Jill Biden surprising the Majestic Marching Cardinals below.

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