Friday, December 4, 2015

Band Boosters Updates

As promised a few weeks ago (though I did promise to send it "in a few days"...), here are some updates and such from the band boosters that we thought everyone should read about.  

First of all, for those who are unfamiliar with what the boosters do, it sort of goes like this: it's a group of parents who meet once a month to hear about things that are going on in the band world and to assist with things like fund raising, organization, and other things that might crop up.  We started the group about a year ago after a parent and I had a conversation about what kind of assistance I might need to get some of the more "non-teacher, non-classroom" stuff off my plate, which was VERY cool.  So we started doing some meetings, which turned into the idea that we should try to meet once a month, and went from there.  (You may have noticed that I did not capitalize "band boosters;" we decided that while it IS an organization that is going to meet regularly, etc., at this time it is NOT going to be a formal/official group that has officers, its own money, etc.  It's a group of parents who want to be involved and help out.  So we kept it lower case for now.)

On to the recent stuff that we think everyone should know, because we decided to not meet in November or December due to everyone's calendar.  Amy Ransler made a list, and I added a few things as well.  (Amy has been our de facto "president" this year.)

  • SCRIP.  This is a really great fund raiser that we have done for nearly 20 years.  We are considering several options:
    • -continue with the same day/time, but open to middle school families so they can start funding their accounts for the next band trip
    • -open the program to all of the performing arts (choir, orchestra, etc)
    • -suspend the program until we are closer to the next band trip
    • There are some groups that use this system for fund raising that use a debit/credit card system to purchase the gift cards.  So far ZPS is not a fan of this option, so we are not offering it yet.  We are hoping to have it available in the future to make it easier for parents to participate
    • We will keep everyone posted as to the program's future
  • Things to think about for next year that people might find fun/interesting/helpful:
    • A more formal parent/senior night for the final home football game for marching band
    • A booster-organized event (such as lunch for everyone) during band camp (this would be a great thing to do on Friday before we go to the beach)
    • Tailgate-style event before (after?) a Saturday competition or parade
    • Let us know what you're thinking!  We know that lots of you were in band back in the day - we've received lots of great ideas from other schools, alumni, etc. as to things that they remember from high school band.  What would you like to see?  Email Amy Ransler at and let her know.
  • A brief (hopefully) word about fund raising:  When the band travels or does other really expensive things, fund raising happens, but is very difficult - when 150 students are traveling, as happens at the end of this month, a fund raiser must be able to offer enough profit potential/motive to raise a lot of money per student.  In other words, selling candy bars, at a profit of about 50 cents per bar, would mean that students would have to sell 1500 bars to earn their trip cost.  Or 200 to earn one month's payment.  So it's difficult to do "successful" fund raisers that are also easy to do.  The mattress sale is one such fund raiser - we made a total of $10,000 between the two sales that we did last spring and in October.  Many students were able to earn several hundred dollars with relatively little effort.  Scrip is another such opportunity, though you build the amount slowly over time.  
Our recent fund raisers at the Fuzzy Peach, Vitale's, and Buffalo Wild Wings ended up netting a total of about $800 or so altogether.  That amount will be used to offset some trip costs for incidentals, and leftover funds will be added to the regular fund raising account.

The money raised each year from the patron drive fund raiser (usually in the neighborhood of $5000 per year) pays for marching band expenses such as drill writing, staff, and music arranging where the school budget needs supplementing, transportation costs to a few events like the band camp beach trip, the occasional pizza party, Jones Sodas for everyone, supplementing the music budget (so far we've used an additional $750 beyond my classroom music budget this year), instruments that go beyond the budget, etc.  It goes pretty fast!

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. in the band room.  We will get back to the "third Thursday of the month" in February, and have meetings in February, March, and April (and possibly May, depending on necessity).  We would love to have you join us!

Keith Walker and Amy Ransler