As the Rock Hill school board considers the equity of its three high schools, the band booster groups have teamed up for the first time to raise money.
Sam Williams, Northwestern High School band booster president, said his parent volunteer group proposed that the three booster groups unite for a May 14 District Three Bands on the Run.
The Northwestern, South Pointe and Rock Hill high school band booster clubs will host a 5K run through downtown Rock Hill and will evenly share in the proceeds, he said.
“We’ve never done a fundraiser together, so it would be a good step in that regard,” Williams said. “We thought it would broaden the impact, to reach out to more in the community. And we also felt it would be a good opportunity to work with the other schools.”
Hope Moore, chair of the South Pointe High band booster club with her husband, Kevin Moore, said finding ways to raise money for band costs is a constant struggle.
“We are all trying different things, but we are all doing the same thing,” she said about the three booster groups. “We are all doing spirit night at restaurants, we all sell fruit. We all do barbecue at different times during the year.”
The South Pointe band has about 80 students, she said, but the booster group only averages about a dozen parents at its meetings, “which makes it really hard to do big things.”
“This is a big undertaking,” Moore said of the run. “We couldn’t pull it off by ourselves at South Pointe.”
Moore and other band leaders said the idea for a joint fundraiser began germinating in September, around the time a high school equity committee was talking about recommendations.
The run “pulls us all together,” said Melanie Meadows, ways and means co-chair for the Rock Hill High band boosters. “Although we compete, we also support each other and lift each other up. This seemed like a great way to show that the schools can come together and work as a team and be equal partners.”
All three groups plan to use money they raise for band operating costs not covered by the school district. That may include portions of the travel cost for competitions, some equipment, meals for students and the cost to clean band uniforms more than once a season.
Although the Rock Hill school district covers many of the costs, Moore and other booster leaders say it does not cover them all, especially those related to competition trips.
She said the South Pointe group plans around $16,000 for band expenses this school year.
“The only frills we have in our booster budget is a pool party at the end of band camp week in the summer, and our awards program at the band banquet at the end of the year,” Moore said.
“Everything else is a necessity, all the way down to the food we need to take with us if we don’t get enough parents to bring sandwiches to feed the kids during competition.”
Williams said the Northwestern group plans to cover about $62,000 in expenses this school year, including $25,000 to support three winter guard performing groups. That band has about 150 members.
Meadows said the Rock Hill booster group also pays for a lot of travel and competition expenses. “Especially when it comes to the arts programs, many people don’t know how much it costs,” she said. “And I didn’t know. I had no idea.”
Williams and Moore said the joint band fundraiser has made it easier for the group to get local sponsors because they can support all three bands at the same time.
“They are getting a one-hit wonder; one donation and it’s going three places,” Moore said. “I have not had anybody so far turn me down for a sponsorship.”
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077
Want to participate?
The Northwestern, South Pointe and Rock Hill high school band booster groups will host a District Three Bands on the Run 5K at 8 a.m. May 14.
Cost to run is $20 until April 15 and $30 from April 16 to May 13. Registration on the day of race is $35. Registration includes a T-shirt.
Online registration for District Three Bands on the Run is available through Crown Tickets at https://get.crowntickets.com. There also is a virtual run option for those not able to attend the event.
The run will start at the Wells Fargo bank on East Main Street in downtown Rock Hill, turn onto Oakland Avenue, go around Glencairn Garden, down College Avenue, turn back on Oakland and circle back to Main Street.
For information on being a sponsor, contact Hope Moore, 803-389-6210 or email her at email@example.com.