Bake sales, car washes, spaghetti dinners. There’s so many traditional ways to raise money for a good cause.
But when the Wiregrass Ranch High School percussion program decided it was time to transform from a strong winter drum line to a premier one, they realized their efforts to raise $25,000 would have to be far from traditional.
“I had to recreate our fundraising strategy a little bit,” said second-year band director Patrick Duncan. “Our families were just selling to each other, and it didn’t do us any good when mom and dad were just looking for the same coworkers all the time, asking if they can buy this, or if they can buy that. At a certain point, they are not going to buy, and parents get really turned off from fundraising.”
A lot of money nowadays is being raised online, through crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Duncan and his team, however, chose GoFundMe, a site that has raised more than $400 million for various fundraisers since its launch.
Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe will fund a campaign, even if the financial goal is not met. And unlike Indiegogo, the band would not have to wait for a campaign to end before they can start withdrawing money.
That means once Wiregrass Ranch’s band raises $900, for example, it could buy a set of low-octave crotales. A little more than $5,000 would be just enough to pay for a studio vibraphone.
“They don’t penalize you for taking out money early,” Duncan said. “And if you don’t meet your goal, you can keep the money raised, and continue to try and raise more funds until you get what you need.”
The money will purchase 14 sets of instruments including three vibraphones, a marimba, two crotales, a snare drum, and four pairs of marching cymbals. These instruments will let the percussion line expand from its current 15 to 18 during marching season, to more than 30 in the wintertime as part of an indoor percussion line.
It would be the area’s second indoor percussion line, joining the existing one at Sunlake High School.
“Our percussionists basically don’t have a performance avenue after marching season ends” in November, Duncan said. “By doing this line, we have something that can join with our winter guard, and it’s very musically engaging. There are some really fast-moving lines, and it’s always based on some kind of concept, some kind of story. It’s like something you might see in a performing arts center.”
Duncan already has percussionists ready to join the line once the instruments are bought, and some of his other band members — even those in the wind instruments like trumpets and tubas — have expressed an interest in broadening their musical horizons.
The indoor drum line would perform at area events, including competitions in Plant City and Daytona Beach — the latter an event that typically draws more than 3,000 people.
Duncan wants the new line to start this school year, but to make it happen, he would have to have auditions right after the Thanksgiving break, with first rehearsals set for just after Christmas. While he could get the line together with just half the money he wants to raise, Duncan is really hoping the community will pull through and help put Wiregrass Ranch’s musical program on the map.
“We have too many percussionists right now, which is a good problem to have,” he said. “You have them going in and out during performances so that they can all get a chance to play, and sometimes you even double up parts so you can include more people. But that doesn’t always much musical sense, as that’s not the way the composer intended for it to be played.”
As of Monday, the band has raised a little more than $400 in the campaign. Most of the donations have been in the $25 range, although GoFundMe is capable of accepting larger contributions.
“We started this in hopes that we can find some people who are interested in giving back, and giving to a cause,” Duncan said. “This will give a lot of students the opportunity to get that performance time in their spring semester, and it’s something audiences will not want to miss.”
Donate right now to the Wiregrass Ranch High School percussion program. Visit GoFundMe.com/WiregrassPercussion.
Published August 27, 2014
See this story in print: Click Here