By Karen Morfitt

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – A Broomfield high school marching band is coming together to represent their community on the global stage at the same time honoring the memory of a former student.

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Jory Coates (credit: CBS)

In 2016, 16-year-old Jory Coates was killed while crossing the street. He would’ve been a senior at Legacy High School this year.

(credit: CBS)

“I remember we were texting throughout the day and all of the sudden he wasn’t replying to the group chat,” Austin Neufeld, Coates’ bandmate and best friend.

The Legacy High School band plans to honor Coates with a special performance at the St. Patrick ’s Day parade in Ireland.

(credit: CBS)

One of only three bands were chosen to perform.

“It’s just such an honor. It’s something to be proud of,” said senior and drum major Daniela Garcia.

Clay Stansberry is the director of bands at Legacy High School. He says the performance has been nearly a year in the making.

CBS4’s Karen Morfitt interviews Clay Stansberry.
(credit: CBS)

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Stansberry said. “It’s just another great accomplishment for this band program, for the school and for the community here.”

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In December of 2016, just as the band was learning about being picked to be part of the event, they were also reeling the loss of one of their own.

(credit: CBS)

“It was really tough, and we think about him every day, but I think in the end he would want us to go on and do things like this. If he were here, he would be right here with us,” Stansberry said.

As the performance inches closer, the nearly 200 musicians who make up the Legacy band family are keeping one thing in mind.

“We’re playing for Jory. He’s always with us, and we want to make him proud,” said senior and drum major Paige Butler.

Fellow drum major Micah Hinson says Coates will be there in spirit.

(credit: CBS)

“He was full of life, and so we just want to go there and play with joy. That is what he would want,” she said.

While a lot has changed, Neufeld says he planned to march beside his best friend on Saint Patrick’s Day – and that remains the same.

“Just keeping him in mind while we’re marching, just knowing that he’s up there watching over us,” Neufeld said.

If you want to watch the band from here at home there will be a live webcast, as soon as the information is available we will include it.

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Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.