Band starts ground work for January trip to inauguration |

Band starts ground work for January trip to inauguration

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the band,

parents were signing permission slips for their children to hand

to Mr. Z so to the inauguration they could go

Now all they’ve got to do is raise the dough …

By Kurt Hildebrand

Nevada Appeal News Service

Douglas High Band Director Bill Zabelsky’s family should understand if he is a little late on the Christmas shopping.

He is spending the first week of winter break rounding up commitment forms to find out which of his 80 band students will make the trip to Washington, D.C., for President Bush’s inauguration.

Four years ago, Carson Valley rose to the challenge and sent the band to the inauguration, but prices have risen since then.

Zabelsky said it cost the band $8,000 to send its instruments to Washington last time, and shipping rates have gone up.

“Last time, we got (plane) tickets for $250. Now the cheapest fare we can find is $460,” he said. “We may need more than $1,000 per student, based just on airfare.”

The band is asking parents to come up with $500 per student.

“Some parents may not be able to come up with the $500, and we will deal with hardship cases as they come up,” he said.

His plan to perhaps split a charter with Reno’s McQueen High band may fall through.

“I’ve read in the newspaper that they’re in danger of not participating because a lot of their education foundation money didn’t come through,” he said. “They need more money than we do because they’re bigger.”

However, Zabelsky expects Carson Valley to come through for the band.

“I’m confident in our community,” he said. “We’re a tight-knit group here.”

Zabelsky met with parents and students Friday to discuss the band’s invitation.

He said he expects to have to provide for 100 band members and chaperones to go. The inauguration will be the week before finals.

“No donation is too small or too large,” Zabelsky said. “Just don’t ask them for money; sell them something. We’re talking big bucks in a short amount of time.”

The band plans to do a benefit concert and silent auction 7 p.m. Jan. 10, and will be out caroling this week.

Zabelsky told parents that recognition of donors will be commensurate with their donation.

“For $500, you get a plaque this big,” he said with his hands a few inches apart. “For $1,000, you get a plaque that big. If you give us $10,000, then we come over and sit in your living room.”

If it raises enough money, the band will depart for Washington on Jan. 17 or 18 and return Jan. 22.

Contact Kurt Hildebrand at or 782-5121, ext. 215.

You can help

Send donations to Douglas High School, P.O. Box 1888, Minden, NV, 89423. For information, call 782-5136, ext. 1102, or go to