By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth West High School Band is hosting a special “Band Aid” fundraiser on May 27 to pay for new band uniforms.
“We have a cruise-in, we have a craft fair, we have some live bands, we have a yard sale, a raffle, a kids area that’s going to be a whole lot of fun with some inflatables and some games and prizes for kids, and of course we’ll have lots and lots of food,” said Elizabeth Blevins, president of the Portsmouth West Band Boosters.
The band has grown a lot in the last several years, and there aren’t enough uniforms for everyone.
“It’s been a few years since we purchased the uniforms that we have now, and we can’t get those uniforms anymore. So we can’t just order extras. Plus, they’re getting a little worn. Each year with new band members we have to alter the uniforms quite a bit — take some things in, take some things out. After so many years of doing that it shows a lot of wear and tear,” Blevins said.
The Boosters began raising money last year, and collected $13,000 from donations. The total cost is $35,000 for 78 band uniforms and 14 guard member uniforms. The Boosters have borrowed the remaining money and have already ordered new uniforms for the fall, but now they need to raise the money to pay back their loan.
“We did so well this past year and the kids have worked so hard. We got a superior rating and qualified for state for the first time in several years. We didn’t want to wait several more years to get new uniforms, plus we didn’t want to put a band out there when we possibly didn’t have enough uniforms,” Blevins said.
To help pay back their loan, the Band Boosters will be having many fundraisers in the next two years to collect donations.
The first major fundraiser is their “Band Aid” event, on Sunday, May 27, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Portsmouth West High School. Admission is free, and the band will be raising money through concession sales, games and donations.
“We really hope that not only people from West, but the entire community supports it. It’s really, in our minds, bigger than just supporting the West Band; it’s supporting music in our schools, and we’re happy for any school that’s doing well and growing those programs because we think it’s important,” Blevins said.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.