Douglas High Band fund reaches more than $41,000
Eight members of the Douglas High School Band spent an hour with the county commission and walked out $15,500 closer to the Presidential Inauguration.
The commissioners unanimously approved a $15,000 donation last week to help send the group to Washington, D.C. Commissioners Don Miner and Kelly Kite then handed Band Director Bill Zabelsky personal checks for $250 and wished him luck.
“It’s more than just going to Washington, D.C., and marching in a parade,” said Kite. “It’s a learning experience that goes beyond just marching in a parade. This is the reward for a lot of hard work.”
The band needs $65,000 to pay for the trip. Since learning of the invitation to the inauguration Dec. 22, the band has raised $41,083. The group is scheduled to leave Jan. 17 but will be taking donations until Jan. 20. “It’s getting tight,” Zabelsky said.
Though the commission’s vote for the donation was unanimous, public opinion wasn’t.
“I don’t think it’s right for you to send these kids to Washington,” said Topaz resident Kay Dupuis. “It should be up to the school and the private sector.”
“This is a perfect opportunity to show the kids that have done a good job we support them as well,” said Gardnerville resident Len Frueh, parent of a band member.
The commissioners said they expect the school board to match their contribution. In addition to Kite’s and Miner’s donations, Commissioner Bernie Curtis contributed $250.
“I would encourage them to dig deep,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger.
Businesses and residents have pledged money for the band. The Pizza Barn restaurant is planning to donate 20 percent of its proceeds Tuesday.
Manager Susan Davidson said the business usually takes in $1,500 on Tuesdays.
The business, owned by John Diedrichsen, will be open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and is located next to Wells Fargo.
“We wanted to help out the band to get to the Inauguration. We used to have several band members work here last year. We just wanted to help out the school,” Davidson said.
Bently Nevada contributed $3,600 and a donor who asked to be anonymous offered $10,000 in matching money.
The band will be performing Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at DHS to raise money for the trip.
A silent auction and raffle will also be held the night of the concert. Raffle tickets cost $5 and are for a gourmet dinner for six provided by DHS Principal Charlie Condron and vice principals Susan Baldwin and Tom Morgan.
Raffle tickets can be bought in the band room at the high school, from any band member or at the concert.
Auction items are still needed. To donate, contact Marla Whitaker at 265-1620, Kathryn Chase at 265-2054 and Laura Jeanne Hammer at 265-2306.
Whitaker said some items already gathered for the auction are an antique cash register, 25 new Beanie Babies and a night’s stay at the Embassy Suites. The band is asking for concert-goers to donate whatever they can instead of setting an admission price.
The band is slated to play before the parade begins on Inauguration Day and will not be actually marching in the parade. The Tiger band marched in the 1988 parade for George W. Bush’s father’s Inauguration.
For information on making a contribution, call Zabelsky at 782-5136, ext. 8.