SOUR NOTES: Band students short on funds

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City High School band members are frequently seen in the community performing at football games and basketball games. They are a competitive team and a talented ensemble representing the community in parades as well as honoring our local veterans in several events. Although successful and growing, the band is experiencing a shortage of funds.With help from the CCHS Band Boosters, a nonprofit organization in charge of raising funds for the program, Helen Foster, the director of bands at CCHS, is asking for the community’s help in funding the band program.According to Foster, the school corporation does not provide any money to the band for operational funding. The band is responsible for 100 percent of its annual budget.The program provides more than just music lessons and marching fundamentals.Gary Chapple, band booster vice president, says “The lessons these students learn go beyond these performances. Self-esteem, discipline, creativity, cooperation, mathematics, foreign vocabulary, patience, lifelong music skills and appreciation for fine arts are all attributes picked up along the way by students in the band program.”The band program has proven successful this 2011-2012 season. In October the Marching Eagles, the high school’s marching band, were ISSMA regional qualifiers. The Winter Guard finished third in the state in their class in March. Both the Winter Percussion and the Varsity Concert Band earned a gold rating in music at ISSMA competitions. Another group students can participate in is the Symphonic Wind Ensemble that earned a silver rating at ISSMA.In individual competition, five students were ISSMA Solo State finalists this year and six students were selected for the IPFW Three Rivers Honor Band.There have also been students that chose to go outside of the school to be apart of other groups. One of the latest band members to step into a venue outside of CCHS is Foster Eber, who will be joining the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s marching band. The success of the bands have brought renewed interest in the program that has resulted in an increase in both the number of students and the areas of participation. Foster says, “My first year we started with 37 students. This year, 69 have signed up for marching band and five additional students will play only in other ensembles.”This combination has placed a strain on the program’s finances. For that reason, the boosters are seeking sponsorships for the 2012-2013 band season.According to Chapple, the bands’ funding is in need of some extra support. “The marching band is probably the most expensive and it is where we have the largest number of kids involved. Although there are different bands the kids can be involved with, on average the cost per student ranges from $400-$500.”The boosters have three categories in which the community can donate. The band in turn has different forms of appreciation for each donation level. To contribute to the band program, checks can be made out to CCHS Band Boosters and sent in care of Columbia City High School 600 N Whitley St., Columbia City, IN 46725-1799. For questions or more information, the community is welcome to contact Chapple at 260-248-2909 or 260-416-7211. Donations are encouraged to be returned by June 1.