‘Band Aid’ keeps music alive for Truckee students
Raffle ticket: $5.
Cost for the Truckee High band to go on tour: $5,000.
Three concerts per day and a shower at the Y: free.
The band’s experience on a four-day tour of Northern California retirement homes, children’s hospitals and schools: priceless.
This year, the Tahoe Truckee High School band has set a goal to raise $8,000 in its fifth annual telethon, airing live on Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. on Truckee Tahoe Community Television channel six. The band students run the six-hour show with adult support from the band’s parent volunteer organization, Tempo High.
“We tried telling the freshmen what it’s like (to go on tour) … but you really have to be there to know what it’s like,” said band tour organizer and Truckee High student Alex Dita.
The money will pay for the band’s four-day tour – in which the students perform for various agencies and nonprofits three times a day for free – uniform upgrades and instrument repair.
It’s a lot of money, and the telethon is a lot of work.
For two weeks student organizers have been planning, scripting and taping segments for the program.
“We really want live acts, and it’s difficult to get the students because of the [Linaea] drama festival that weekend,” said band telethon producer David Lee.
Between taped segments, band members will announce donors, and the MCs will have to do a whole lot of ad libbing. Telethon organizer Laurel Barchas said the off-the-cuff commentary tends to be humorous.
“We try and keep it light,” she said.
For every $5 contributed to the band, the donor will receive a raffle ticket. The grand prizes are an overnight stay at the Reno Hilton and an adventure package. Many local businesses also donated prizes to the band telethon raffle.
During the telethon, operators will be standing by to take donations that will fill in the band’s funding gaps.
“The schools, when we lose funding, we tend to lose it first in the arts because they’re not considered core subjects. For some kids, who are more creative, they need music to be part of their education,” said Maggie Shane, treasurer for Tempo. “Tempo and Measure A keep the band program running; very little is paid for by the district (general fund).”
The money raised in the telethon also helps pay for students in band who can’t afford instruments or don’t have the money to participate in band activities.
“We try to be very frugal, but we do try to allow everyone to play,” Shane said. “And we try to keep the program going – by the skin of our teeth.”
The $8,000 goal is somewhat lofty – considering the band raised less than $5,000 last year and, in its best year, raised approximately $7,000 – but the band students are setting their sights high so they’ll have enough money to cover the tour this year.
“Our band tour is definitely worth it,” Dita said. “It’s a time for bonding.”