How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice … and a hefty sum of money for travel expenses, one DeKalb County High School music program has learned.
The 54-member Miller Grove High School Wind Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall on April 10. However the band, headed by director Jared Brown, is struggling to make sure all expenses are taken care of before departure.
According to booster club members, the band was invited to play at Carnegie Hall based on its 2016 performance in an annual festival.
Band members, band parents, volunteers joined the band’s booster club in working diligently to raise the estimated $60,000 needed for the trip. Costs associated with the trip include instrument repair, transportation, tuxedo and gown mending, meals, hotel accommodations and sheet music packaging and averages out to $1,600 per student.
“We need our youth to know that the village rose up to secure passage for their performance at Carnegie Hall in New York on April 10,” said Merilyn Davis, a booster club volunteer. “How do these young people get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice practice; a lot of money, and the village [rising] up! We are that village.”
The band’s booster club has asked the community to come together and make sure each member of Miller Grove’s Wind Symphony Orchestra has the chance to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Davis said each donation is precious, but a $60,000 check would expedite the process overall. According to Davis, the band has raised approximately $30,000. Requests have been made to celebrities, fraternities, sororities, business owners, corporations, churches, business owners, politicians, entrepreneurs, networking groups and musicians for help.
According to booster club president Kadija Gordon, an invitation to Carnegie Hall is hard to come by and the trip will be happening whether funds are raised or not. She said the funds will help students enjoy the trip without stressful financial constraints and ensure a stop in Washington D.C. is memorable.
“We’re a Title I school and $1,600 is a lot to come by for a lot of our children,” Gordon said. “We want to make sure the kids have a memorable experience. This is the first time many of them have been out of the state.”
Gordon said the band, parents and booster club volunteers have sold water, held fish fries, battled other bands and done more than their fair share of fundraising to make sure the trip occurs. She said the band will practice through Spring Break April 3-7 to make sure the performance is as perfect as possible.
“Kids are doing jobs for everyone, including teachers and neighbors,” Gordon said. “They want to make sure they are doing their part and we’ve kept it within the community. We’ll all be raising money until the day of the trip.”
Gordon praised Miller Grove High School’s music program for producing well-rounded adults.
“The majority of these children are honor roll students and involved with a lot of things at school,” she said. “It’s more than just a band—it’s a lifestyle. They learn discipline and responsibility through practice and performing.”
To contribute to the Miller Grove High School Wind Symphony Orchestra, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Kadija Gordon at (860) 869-0448.
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