Marching Band Camp Month!


Band Camp 1By: Chris Monroe, Executive Director for “The Gift of Music Foundation.”

July is here and that means fireworks, cookouts, pool time, and of course Marching Band Camps!
Over the next month, tens of thousands of middle and high school music students across the USA will spend a week (or more) learning music and drill for their fall halftime and/or competition shows.  Rookies will learn to march for the first time.  Upperclassmen will enjoy their new-found “status” as student leaders of their band.  Many lifetime friendships will continue to grow or begin at these very camps.


Some of the best life lessons are also learned at Band Camp:  Teamwork.  Perseverance.  Discipline. Pushing past your comfort zone.

While the students, staff, and volunteers are working hard at these camps, parents will attend band booster and informational meetings about the season… and this is where the “sticker shock” happens.  They get the bill for their student(s) to participate in marching band.  The cost varies greatly from program to program; anywhere from $500 to $1,500 is not uncommon in base dues… and this is just for starters.  There are often additional fundraising requirements: Uniform fees, shoes, instrument rental or repair, sticks, mallets, flags, mouthpieces, etc.  There may also be a separate “Band Camp Fee” to pay for facilities, staff, and travel costs just associated with camp.

The most common questions asked by parents include “Why is this so expensive?” and “I thought the school system paid for this?”  They are shocked to find that the band receives little if ANY money each year toward its operating expenses.  For example, a band may receive $4,000 per year from the school while their budget/expenses, just for marching band can exceed $50,000, $100,000 or more.  The rest has to be made up through member dues and fundraising.
In today’s extra tight household budgets, there just isn’t this kind of money available to pay for marching band for many families.  So, the decision is made for the student to (sadly) not participate in this positive, life-changing activity.  Or, the student participates, but is not able to pay their bill leaving the boosters to cover the budget shortfall, adding to the “red ink.”
Many band programs also find themselves with worn out uniforms, instruments, and equipment that desperately needs to be replaced, but coming up with $100,000 or more for replacing uniforms and instruments is just simply out of reach.  So, they continue to “make do” with what they’ve got, using “Band-Aids and Bubblegum” to keep things working.
As a freelance music teacher and arranger for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed this same scene, over and over again at school after school.  This is one of the many reasons that “The Gift of Music Foundation” was formed… to help these students and these music programs.  Check out the Programs we are developing to support musicians and music programs of all types.  Marching Band is just one of MANY music programs that we want to help keep alive in our schools and communities.
Were you (or your child) positively impacted by Marching Band?  Are some of your best memories from High School from band?  Are you currently a “band parent” working to help keep a marching program going?  Are you a current or former music educator who knows these struggles first hand?  Or perhaps you are just a fan or marching band and music.
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, will you please consider a Donation today and be a “Halftime Hero?”  Here’s the kind of impact you can have:
$35 repairs an instrument for donation to a needy student/program…
$50 buys new band music literature….
$100 helps pay for meals and supplies…
$250 helps offset marching band fees for a needy student…
$500 purchases new band equipment like tuners, metronomes, etc…
$1000 can do all of the above!!!
As marching band season gets underway, hundreds of band programs and thousands of students will need help.  Without YOUR financial support, we can’t help those in need.  Please, make your tax-deductible Donation TODAY.   The more money we raise, the more “Heroes of Halftime” Scholarships we can give to deserving Students and Band Programs.
If you would rather mail a check or money order, please make payable to “The Gift of Music Foundation” and mail to:
PO BOX 53095
ATLANTA, GA 30355-1095
You may also call (888) 551-0077 and choose option 1 to make a credit card donation via telephone.
On behalf of the Directors and Staff of TGOMF, we wish all marching bands the best of luck and much success during band camp, and for the marching season!  We sincerely look forward to putting your donation to work to help students participating and bands operating.


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