by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Central Music Booster Club is setting the tone for supporting Central Schools music programs.
The group officially incorporated in January 2013 but first met on Nov. 26, 2014, to help out the K-12 music programs and support the efforts of Central band director Adam Halpaus, choral director Emily Dyess, and elementary music director Laura Forst, according to current president Connie Meeker.
“Every other sport and activity has a booster club and we decided to do one for music,” said Meeker, who has three kids involved in music — Alex, Sam and Anna.
Thus far the group has become registered with the state, has initiated concert standards for all K-12 programs and concerts and has taken over management of student accounts and fundraisers.
Member Kim Eggers, whose daughter Lexi is in band and choir, said the concert standards have emphasized refreshments, a Star Notes program, and student volunteers as ushers.
Meeker said supporting fundraisers for trips ranging from $800 to $1,000 per student.
“If we can provide fundraisers where we can provide 100 percent of their trip costs, that’s ideal for us,” said Meeker.
Taking over the fund accounts has been essential, Eggers said.
“There is a lot of work to fundraising,” she said, adding before the teachers had to take on the challenge. “If we can ease some of that so they can actually work with their students and devote more time to the students, then that will help them.”
Meeker added the reaction from Halpaus, Forst and Dyess has been great.
“They are somewhat relieved to turn over these fundraisers, especially,” said Meeker. “The funds and the student accounts were just overwhelming for them.”
The regular fundraisers of the music programs have included candles, cookie dough and fruit sales, but members of the Music Booster Club is hard at work planning an upcoming raffle.
The second annual raffle is scheduled for and prizes include gallery prints and book by 1984 Central graduate and current Venice, Calif.-based photographer Rob Shanahan as well as a Dell Venue 8 Tablet, gift certificates and cash.
Tickets are now on sale for the raffle and the draw date is set for May 21 in conjunction with the grades 6-12 choir concert. Other upcoming concerts include grade 5-12 band on May 14 at 6:30 p.m., the Memorial Day Program on May 26 and graduation on May 30.
Among the longer term goals of the Music Booster Club are to acquire donations and generate funds for items such as concert risers for choir, instruments and rehearsal room sound system/recording studio for band, music stand banners and a smart board and an electric piano as well as large-ticket items such as a new set of Timpani drums, concert shell, Wenger music library and instrument storage lockers.
“We do have other people that are looking at donating into the program and we’re hoping we can put some of those donations towards those, but they’re huge,” said Eggers, adding aging equipment is an issue and hiring of a band assistant would help. “That’s what we’re here to get people to know that the music program has been neglected and they really need to be brought up to speed.”
On a positive note, band and choir continue to draw increasing numbers but with that increase comes increasing demand.
Both Meeker, a Sibley East graduate who played percussion and was in marching band, and Eggers, a Central graduate who played clarinet and was in marching band, understand the importance of music, too.
“It just engages them,” said Eggers. “A majority of the kids aren’t necessarily in sports so it gets them the other side of the support team.”
Meeker added that music trips, such as the choir trip to Chicago in June and the band trip to Florida in spring 2015, are also important aspects to the effort.
“The experiences that kids get on those trips and memories they bring home — it goes with them for life,” said Meeker. “It’s enriching for the children.”
To accomplish their goals and continue support, members encourage people to get involved in any way they can.
“To implement everything we really want to accomplish, we really need more members,” said Eggers, adding they currently have 10 active members. “We just need more minds and more bodies to get things accomplished.”
Meeker added the group wants to increase membership and continue to “enhance the program at Central and get some of those items that all the kids could use.”
The Central Music Boosters will next meet on Sunday, May 4, at 6 p.m. in the Central High School band room where they will elect new officers.
For more information or to get involved, call Connie Meeker at (507) 326-3176. Also visit www.robshanahan.com for more information on Rob Shanahan.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]