Waiting for your call: band telethon Saturday | SierraSun.com

Waiting for your call: band telethon Saturday

Katherine Morris, Sierra Sun

When the third annual Truckee-Tahoe High School Band Telethon kicks off Saturday, band members and TEMPO (Truckee Education Music Parents Organization) volunteers are hoping to drum up even more community support than in previous years.

“Each year we’ve come up with more than $5,000, which is wonderful, but this year we’d like to go even further,” said TEMPO member and telethon chair Donna Marshman. “We’re really hoping to raise $8,000.”

This year’s telethon will air live on Feb. 9, between 3 and 9 p.m. on Tahoe-Truckee Community Television’s cable Channel 6.

In addition to a wide variety of live entertainment, this year’s telethon will include a fencing demonstration, promotion of the upcoming TTHS musical, “Oklahoma,” and raffle prizes for callers.

“For every $5 you pledge, you’ll receive a raffle ticket,” Marshman said. The drawing will be held March 13 at 6 p.m. in the TTHS Band Room.

This year’s hosts include: Mike Miller, Casson Scowcroft and Matt Eskridge (three previous TTHS students and band members), Helen Solli-Nowlan, originator and former chair of the telethon, Kevin Coleman, who teaches industrial arts at TTHS, and Randy Humphreys, who directs the Sierra Mountain Middle School band.

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“It’s definitely going to be a fun, high energy event,” said John Echols, TTCTV’s producer and TTHS teacher.

Money raised from the event will go towards supplying instruments, as well as scholarships and stipends for graduating seniors and honors band members. Funds will also provide for much needed uniforms for the 50 or so students in the TTHS band, which includes a symphony and modern classical band, a jazz band and a marching band.

“We’ve been trying to get uniforms for the kids for three years now,” said TEMPO parent and telethon host Helen Solli-Nowlan. “We’re gradually making progress on that, but uniforms are really expensive.”

Marshman said TEMPO hopes that $3,000 of this year’s funding can go toward matching funds donated by the DEW Foundation for concert and marching band outfits.

Truckee residents’ pledges will also go towards funding the band’s annual spring tour, when students hit the road for a series of free concerts at hospitals, veterans homes, schools and senior centers throughout northern California. Without community support, students end up footing much of the bill for the tour.

“The kids give up their spring breaks to do it each year, and sometimes they play as many as three shows a day,” said TEMPO treasurer Maggie Shane. “There’s no roadies to help them out. It’s just the kids.”

Marshman said the spring tour is always a wonderful experience for all parties involved.

“The kids interact a lot with the patients, they push wheelchairs, visit with the people and encourage them to come out and listen to the concerts,” Marshman said. “They play a really moving medley of service marches that brings tears to peoples’ eyes. It just gives you tingles when you hear it and see how moved the veterans are.”

Solli-Nowlan said the spring tour is a main reason why second homeowners in the area should pledge.

“Every year, our kids are going into [these homeowners’ cities] and playing for their seniors, hospitals and veterans. Who knows, we could be playing for their grandmothers. We’re not just a little localized band.”

Between 6 and 7 p.m., all money donated will go towards band scholarships, and those who wish to donate specifically for that reason are encouraged to call during that hour.

“We are having a special scholarship this year, the Scowcroft scholarship, named in honor of long time TEMPO member, Jock Scowcroft, who died last March,” Marshman said.

Aside from raising money, Solli-Nowlan said she really wants to raise awareness in the community that we have this wonderful, talented group of young musicians.

“We want people to know that they’re definitely worth coming out, supporting and listening to,” she said.

To support the TTHS band, make a pledge by tuning into Channel 6 between 3 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, and by calling (530) 582-2777.

Parent and student operators will be standing by, so please keep trying and channel surf to Channel 6.