THE National Youth Band's Iloilo loa meke group and Salusalu Koula band have been selected as part of the delegation to represent Fiji at the Pacific Arts Festival in July this year.
They were chosen after they beat other groups in the Dance Fiji auditions last week for a place on the plane to the Solomon Islands.
For these underprivileged students, the journey will mark a culmination of all their efforts and struggles, their triumphs and tragedies.
The NYB is made up of mainly high school dropouts, teenagers who were failed by Fiji's secondary school system.
All had the talent for music, and almost all had no outlet for it and all ended up at the National Youth Band to learn to master their talents.
Indeed it would only be fitting if the students were led by someone who understood their struggles and the situations they originated from.
Step in Joji Caudre, himself a product of the National Youth Band, himself a man with his own story to tell.
A lecturer with the NYB, Mr Caudre said meke had always been taught as part of the curriculum at the school.
"We had been practising since February this year when we were invited by master Laisiasa Veikoso to perform at Dance Fiji last week for a place to the Pacific Arts festival," he said.
Mr Caudre said for the students, the performance at Dance Fiji was a highlight, and after the performance that Friday afternoon, they had forgotten all about the Pacific Arts festival place which was up for grabs.
"The feeling after completing the meke at Dance Fiji was indescribable, for us in that moment, it did not matter if we won the place to represent Fiji at the festival, we were content with how far we had come," he said.
He explains the students of the National Youth Band come from all parts of Fiji and all experienced the same struggles.