MERIDIAN, Texas (FOX 44) – In the rural town of Meridian, Texas, ten Meridian ISD middle schoolers gave up their summer.

“Not only to perform, but to practice and to improve their skill and to improve just everything that they love about music and what music does to them,” says MISD band director Daniel Yguerabide.

The group calls themselves the “Not-So-Jazz-Band Jazz Band”–they’re practicing to hit the big stage on June 3 at the annual Gatesville Shivaree–opening for 90’s country band, “Ricochet.”

The band of eighth graders were also chosen out of thousands to perform the national anthem at a Frisco Rough Riders baseball game in July.

“It’s phenomenal. It speaks a lot to their talent and their passion and their commitment for for what they’re doing. And that’s not something you see every day in particularly in a rural, you know, rural town,” says the band director.

He says it’s their passion for music that has gotten them so far.

“Music crosses borders and crosses streets. It crosses county lines. It speaks to everybody. And these kids understand that,” he adds.

For the students, music is…

“Culture, passion, emotions. It’s very important. It can change lives. It can change the way people think,” says eighth-grader Ellie.

The band has become a very well-known group in Bosque County.

“It doesn’t matter like where you came from, like what language you speak. It’s just something we can all collectively understand,” says another band member.