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Carrying a tune—all the way to Washington

—  By Rehema Ellis, NBC News correspondent

As the upcoming inauguration is historic for the nation it's monumental for a group of students from New York City. Twenty-six kids from Harlem have been invited to play their violins at the Children's Inaugural Ball. That's right, they're from Harlem, a part of the world that people don't think about when they think of violins and classical music.

To say that these young people and their parents are thrilled is an understatement. Ten-year old Nadifa Kargbo's father, Abdul, who immigrated here from Sierra Leone 24 years ago says, "I've achieved the American dream".

Fourth grader Nicholas Maya, says he's practicing, "at least 40 minutes every day", because he wants to do his best to honor, "the first American Black president and it's going to be really cool".

What's also really cool is that Opus 118 Harlem School of Music exists at all and is providing these youngsters an opportunity of expression that challenges and defies many stereotypes.

It's not easy. Organizers say they're working right up to the last minute to raise funds to make the trip to Washington possible.

Fundraising is a constant challenge for a school like this. But, the director and co-founder, Roberta Guaspari, is committed to make this music school in Harlem a success. Thankfully, she's got a staff that shares her passion. And of course, when you see the kids, and hear the music they make it becomes clear why the children love what they're doing and why Guaspari is determined to keep giving Harlem kids a place to learn how to play.

To learn more about the school visit their web site www.opus118.org

          
Click here to watch the related video report from NBC's Rehema Ellis.

Editor's note: Are you headed to D.C. for the inauguration? Share stories and photos of your preparations and your trip with msnbc.com's FirstPerson.