Band holds multiple fundraisers to cover the cost for band equipment

Vrunda Shah

Staff Writer

American High School’s band held numerous fundraisers including the Penny Drive, See’s Candy, A’s Game, Pops Italian Concert, and the Silent Auction to raise money to cover the expenses for band equipment.

The school does not receive enough funding to cover for the band’s transportation, uniforms, entry fees, and instrument purchases. Most of the money that the band received from Fremont Unified School District only covered half the total spending .

“The school district provides some money for sheet music purchases and instrument repair, but that is not enough to cover more than a single concert, or repair for less than a handful of instruments,” band teacher Mr. Wong said. “We are not like other school districts, where there is a budget to purchase instruments and equipment or a budget for transportation. One bus trip can cost over $4,000, and that is just to drop us off and pick us up at the end of the day. We also have to rent a 24-foot moving truck, just to get our percussion equipment from one place to another. The cost of truck rental and gas is close to $200 per trip.”

Marching band has increased from an average of 70-80 members to 100 members this year, resulting in a lack of band uniforms. Purchasing the uniforms is expensive and due to the lack of funding, they’ve had to cancel some of their yearly band traditions.

Junior Emily Keshner and senior Alyssa Tran played their clarinets to collect donations. The Penny Drive fundraiser was held during the week of March 16 till March 20, 2015 at lunch in the rotunda.
Junior Emily Keshner and senior Alyssa Tran played their clarinets to collect donations. The Penny Drive fundraiser was held during the week of March 16 till March 20, 2015 at lunch in the rotunda.

“This year we had an influx of new band members, and because the sizes of our existing uniforms didn’t match the sizes of the band, we had to order another forty uniforms,” band member Sarah Jensen (11) said. “Plus in the last few years we’ve had to halt our tradition of going to New York or Hawaii to perform because we couldn’t afford it. Getting the uniforms paid off means we can start saving up for a trip again, which would be a really great experience.”

Many band parents have taken initiative along with students to help raise money. Band parents stood around the rotunda from March 16 to March 20 to collect money for the Penny Drive and band members played their instruments to collect funds, collecting up to $1000.

“The Penny Drive exceeded our expectations – once we started performing at lunch, more people started contributing their coins,” Jensen said. “We did a lot better than expected.”

Along with the Penny Drive fundraisers, the band members have been selling A’s game tickets for the game on Saturday, April 11 at $25 each.

“Oakland A’s Ticket fundraiser wasn’t so great because we have only sold about a portion of the 200 that are required,” band member Kent Giese (11) said. “We’re doing the Oakland A’s fundraiser because we were invited to play the national anthem at one of the baseball games.”

Many fundraisers such as the A’s game fundraiser were unsuccessful due to a lack of participation in American High School.Wong expressed his discontent toward the lack of participation.

“I think a lot of students at school don’t pay attention to things in which they are not directly involved,” Wong said. “As a result, there is a fracturing of community instead of the creation of community.”

However, band members are not discouraged by the lack of funding, and continue working hard to fundraise in order to compete in competitions.

“Students take initiative when they understand that they are helping to maintain the excellent program we have here at American,” Wong said. “They represent the school with pride and class, at every performance, competition, or other event. They are the musical ambassadors of our school.”

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