BOSTON (CBS) — Imagine you’re a college-aged musician, and you find out you’ll be playing for millions. That’s what the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps is doing on Independence Day, performing with the Boston Pops. That would be thrill enough, but this year the corps is also celebrating a very special anniversary.

Marching band music fills a school football stadium on a baking hot afternoon as the Boston Crusaders polish their act, and celebrate 75 years of making this particular brand of music. It all started in 1940 at The Most Precious Blood Church in Hyde Park, and has grown into an award winning powerhouse.

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“They tour 12,000 miles over the course of the summer, compete in about 35 contests all over the country until the world championship in Indianapolis,” says David Simon, who is on the Crusaders’ board.

And these young people are about to play the gig of a lifetime, Boston’s July 4th celebration on the Esplanade accompanying the Boston Pops on the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever.

“It’s incredible to have the chance to play with such elite musicians like they are, in the heart of where we’re from, in Boston,” says Crusader Aidan Williams.

It’s not just the musicianship at play here, it’s also the precision and coordination.

“We’re listening to the person beside of us, and we’re also listening to the people behind us, and we’re moving together and performing at the same time. It’s a bunch of stuff to do at the same time. It’s crazy,” says Bethany Rush a timpani drum player.

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For Chase Tucker, one of the drum majors for the Crusaders, it’s also an opportunity to see Maestro Keith Lockhart in action.

“He’s an amazing conductor and it’ll be really cool just to be in the same area as him, and get to see him at his craft. So I’m super excited about that experience,” Tucker says.

And it’s going to be a super-sized audience.

“That’s a lot of people. That will be the most I’ve ever performed for. But it’s going to be awesome,” says Kei Harvin, another drummer with the Crusaders.

“I’m sure we’ll all be very nervous, but this is why we do it,” says Patrick Erwin, one of the coaches. “I hope the audience can feel the commitment and the dedication of our membership and the reason why this organization is still around 75 years after it was founded,” he says.

The Crusaders celebrate their 75th anniversary on Thursday at Gillette Stadium and then it’s on to the Independence Day spectacular which you can see on WBZ-TV starting at 8 p.m.

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For more information about the July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Extravaganza visit the event site.

David Wade