By LISA SIMPSON STRANGE
Glasgow Daily Times
A group of local high school musicians is more than a quarter of the way to their fundraising goal for a trip to New York City to perform in Carnegie Hall. And a local bank just helped them get closer to their needed total.
Representatives of Edmonton State Bank arrived at the Barren County High School band room Wednesday afternoon with a “big” check for a $5,000 donation to help cover expenses associated with the performance.
Andrea Gentry, an officer with the bank, said the reason ESB decided to give the band the money was because they “just thought it was a great honor for kids in our community to have the chance to do that and we just wanted to give back to the community and help those kids go to New York.”
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students,” added Tommy Jackson, Barren County community president for ESB, in a press release. “An invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall is obviously a testament to the band’s hard work, and they deserve the chance to represent their school and our community on one of the world’s most prestigious stages.”
Band members and boosters have raised more than $30,000 since last spring when BCHS band director, Dr. Kip Crowder, was notified his students had received an invitation to play at the world-renowned performance venue.
“The band boosters have worked tirelessly the past several months raising funds for the Carnegie Hall performance,” he said. “And they have fundraisers planned through next year. When Edmonton State Bank contacted us about the donation, we were overjoyed. The donation has given us a confidence boost and assurance in knowing we’ll create lifelong memories at Carnegie Hall.”
Approximately 60 concert band members will participate in the performance in New York on April 15, 2012. The trip will cost roughly $1,582 per student. Additionally, the band boosters are paying the transportation costs of approximately $20,000 to get the band members to and from New York on chartered buses. With upwards of $120,000 total to raise, everyone involved with fundraising has been brainstorming for ideas.
“We need to come up with a unique gimmick,” Crowder said.
Band booster president Kelly Christian and vice president Cindy Rutledge were on hand for the check presentation Wednesday and described some of the events that have already happened and others that are planned in the upcoming weeks and months to help finance the venture.
The group has conducted road blocks in different areas of the county, sponsored a poker run, had a “Cooking on the Square” event, and are selling Papa John’s cards.
Saturday, they will host the BCHS band contest at the school. On Oct. 29, they will also host the Kentucky Music Educators Association band competition semifinals. The last time the school was the site of the semifinals, the band raised approximately $8,000 from concessions, according to Crowder.
“That’s the next big one. I’m sure there’ll be a million others. Our kids are selling things like crazy,” he said.
Boosters are planning a “Taste of New York” at the Fine Arts Bistro with dishes named for sites in NYC. Students will wait tables and play ensemble music for patrons.
Crowder said the group has already made their first $10,000 deposit and another installment will be due soon. Even though the fundraising is hard work, he said the experience for the students will make it all worthwhile.
“I can’t wait to take the kids to see a Broadway show. They’ll get to see so many sites and be introduced to so much culture,” he said.
To learn more about donating to the BCHS band boosters Carnegie Hall performance, contact Christian at (270) 670-9808.