Pinecrest Bands Raising Money for Uniforms, Equipment
Things are changing for the Pinecrest High School band.
Coming off its first competitive season in nearly two decades, the band is trying to raise money to replace damaged instruments and outdated uniforms. To do that, the band will charge admission for its spring concert for the first time.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 1 in the school auditorium and features performances from the marching band, wind ensemble and jazz band.
About 90 students will participate. Tickets are available at the door for $6.
In addition to charging for admission, raffle tickets to win a 2008 Chevy Tahoe will be sold for $10 each.
"I'd love not to charge," said band director James Muccio, "Unfortunately, we are in a financial need situation right now."
The money raised from the concert will go to replace instruments, uniforms and other necessities such as sheet music.
Muccio said the larger instruments owned by the school are decades old, and continuous use over that time has taken its toll.
"The majority of our equipment is in excess of 20 years old," Muccio said. "The lifespan of a well-cared-for instrument in the hands of a professional could be 30 years. In the hands of high school students instruments get passed from student to student over 10 to 15 years, and during that time the instruments get damaged."
Muccio said extensive use by numerous students over time can often damage instruments, making them more difficult to play and less likely to sound as they should.
He likened the situation to renting a car versus owning one.
"If you own a car and it gets a dent, you probably will get it fixed right away," Muccio said. "If it's not your car, and it gets dinged, you kind of go on, keep driving."
Last year, Muccio got an estimate to repair all the instruments owned by the school.
"It was $18,000, and that is just to fix what we have," he said. "That doesn't count replacements."
He estimated the cost to replace damaged instruments at $50,000 to $60,000.
In addition to the dinged instruments, Muccio said, the band uniforms, which were purchased three to six years ago, are "stylistically 25 years old."
"Judges regularly commented on the style of our uniforms being outdated," Muccio said.
Some band members didn't think the uniforms affected performance, but they may have affected the perception of the judges.
"When they see a band with really old uniforms or a tuba older than the school, judges will look at your appearance and start to make judgments about your performance beforehand," said Spalding Spence, a junior trombonist.
Band members say being in the band means more than in years past, thanks to Muccio's leadership.
This year, the marching band entered in competition for the first time in nearly two decades and earned a superior rating and a second-place finish in one category.
"In the past, (being in the band) seemed pointless to just play at football games," said senior Zachary Letsinger, who plays the French horn. "This year competing has made it worthwhile."
"We are much more organized," said Emily Ott, who plays the flute. "We've been given more opportunities to perfect pieces and we have progressed a lot more. We've had a chance to succeed."
The school system provides the band with $5,000 each year for uniforms.
Muccio, who is in his first year as director at Pinecrest, said his fund balance is $5,000. He hopes to build a more stable, organized band boosters program that in the future could help raise money to offset the costs associated with the program. In the meantime, the concert and raffle will have to bridge the gap.
Spence said the concert is an opportunity for band members to showcase to the community how far they have come.
"It's a new Pinecrest band," he said.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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