Despite two July terrorist attacks in London, the Evans High School band will march through the historic city on New Year's Day.
The Evans High School band, shown during practice on October 6, 2005, is selling fruit to raise money for their trip to London to perform in the London New Years Parade.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We're a go," said Reid Hall, the Evans band director. "Everybody is really excited about it."
The attacks threatened the band's slated fourth appearance in the Lord Mayor of Westminster's New Year's Day Parade. But band leaders and parents met with a stateside representative and the executive director of the band, and all agreed the trip should proceed.
"We're pumped," Hall said. "We're starting to get excited now. We're starting to see things fall into place. We're almost there."
Students have been working hard busing tables and selling fruit to help pay the more than $2,000-per-student price tag for the trip. Band members are selling boxes of oranges for $15 and grapefruit for $14.
"The students get a certain amount of it for trip credit," Hall said. "The rest goes into the booster (club) for their budget, which takes care of the many, many things the boosters pay for the kids."
Evans is just one of several Columbia County bands that have discovered fruit sales are a way to help fund expensive programs and special events. All four of the county's public high school bands are selling fruit this winter.
Lakeside High School Band Director Jim Tau plans to take his band to New York City in the spring, when it will perform at South Street Seaport. But proceeds from the fruit sales will mainly go toward the band booster organization instead of toward the $750 price-tag on the New York trip.
"We have to raise $50,000 in three years for new uniforms," Tau said, adding that the band is selling oranges and grapefruit at $15 a box.
Stacey Wade, Harlem High School's band director, said his band will not take a large trip this year, but they are selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a utility trailer and will begin selling oranges, grapefruit and tangelos this week.
"We're actually raising money for a 20-foot, enclosed utility trailer that we can haul our equipment in," Wade said.
Some of the money will go toward a trip next school year, which Wade hopes will be to perform at a football bowl game.
Greenbrier High School band members have been washing cars and selling pizza, cookie dough and fruit in addition to $2 raffle tickets for a chance to win an E-Z-Go golf car. Boxes of oranges, grapefruit and tangelos cost $13 each.
Proceeds from their sales will go toward a spring trip to Chicago. The trip, which costs $570 per student, will include a performance at the city's Navy Pier, director Tom Smallwood said.
"We're looking forward to it," Smallwood said, agreeing with other band directors that the purpose of his band is to give students memorable experiences such as trips, an appreciation for music and leadership skills.
"That's what we're all about here," he said.
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