Bands gear up for marching season
The Pea Ridge High School band, under the direction of Kevin Hume, Matt McCool and Sara Beth Eubanks, is gearing up for a new marching season.
To help the high school band attend competitions, the Pea Ridge Band Boosters, now in their official fourth year as a nonprofit organization, works hard to ensure additional costs can be offset or covered, to allow the bands to function at a higher level. The Booster Club’s mission is to foster and promote a positive image of the Pea Ridge Middle and High School Band students and band program within the schools and community and to provide moral and financial support and service to the Pea Ridge Schools Band Program. Cooperatively support the efforts of the band directors and staff to provide students with music education and experience that meets the highest possible standards. To accomplish this mission, multiple fundraisers and duties come along with this responsibility.
Over the spring and summer, many band parents and friends of the band volunteered their time to work at the Walmart AMP concerts, alongside another non-profit, Rider’s United 4 Children. Through those efforts, the band receives a percentage of sales to help with fundraising. So these fun opportunities actually benefit two organizations centered around kids. Club members have fun doing this and have a few more concerts through September before the season ends.
Then, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, the Booster Club is hosting their first big fundraiser in town: Chicken in the Ditch and Car Wash (fall edition) at the Pea Ridge High School parking lot at the corner of Weston and Pickens. The community can come out and support the bands by purchasing lunch at $4 for a half chicken and $7 for a whole chicken. The chicken (donated by Tyson’s) is grilled with G&D’s barbecue sauce, which was also generously donated to the cause. No pre-orders this time. Vehicles can run through the car wash and drivers can enjoy music while they wait.
Another large fundraiser is the Blackhawk Marching Classic (fourth annual) that is held at the Pea Ridge High School Football stadium, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. This fundraising event for the Pea Ridge bands, is an invitational competitive contest. It runs from from mid-day through early evening, with up to 1,500 attendees, which include high school band students, directors, parents and families. Schools that participate in the marching classic come from around the region, such as Van Buren, Fort Smith, as well as some schools from Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. An awards ceremony is held to recognize each band’s performance, noting outstanding work in the areas of marching, music, percussion, color guard and drum majors. “Place” awards are also presented. Competitive classes are designed by enrollments of participating schools, no matter what the size of the band. This year’s event, will showcase the Lyon College Marching Band as the exhibition band, led by former Pea Ridge Band director, Monty Hill. A nominal admission fee is charged. Concessions are available throughout the day. New this year, SnoBiz will be on-site to serve sno-cones, and a portion of the sales will be donated back to the band. All other proceeds from this event, benefit the Pea Ridge Band Boosters, which in turn benefits our band programs.
Booster Club members are in the midst of preparing for this big event, and are currently seeking event sponsors for this fourth annual Blackhawk Marching Classic, as well as to sell color ad space for our event programs. Sponsor levels are: Platinum, $1,000; Gold, $750; Silver, $500; and Bronze, $250. To inquire about benefits of sponsorship or cost of ad space, email the Boosters at email@example.com Support will help reach many immediate and long-term goals for the bands.
In the midst of these larger events in the fall, we consistently “Feed the Band” before each High School football game they attend, as well as before marching competitions. This year, the Booster Club has begun seeking meal sponsors at $250 per event, to ensure the kids can be fed before the games. They have long days, and a short time in between school and performances. To be sure to they are fed and healthy, sponsorships are needed.
Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series about the Blackhawk Band.