It takes a lot of money to run a marching band.
Uniforms and instruments, traveling, equipment and feeding the students on the road all run up the bill.
At Central Valley High School, the marching band and color guard recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came on top of the band’s usual trips to competitions throughout Washington and Oregon during the fall.
Twice every school year, including this weekend, the Central Valley High School Band Boosters organize a large arts and crafts sale fundraiser. They have been hosting the event since 1973.
Debbie Long, a veteran member of the band boosters and a member of the Central Valley School District board of directors, said the sales raise around $70,000 a year, the lion’s share of the $90,000 the boosters contribute to the band annually. The school’s budget gives the band $3,500 per year, and the district pays the band director, Eric Parker, a contract of $7,000.
That doesn’t include the out-of-pocket costs for each member of the band, which at CV is around $300 a year. The trip to Washington pushed that up $1,200 this year.
Lori Wilson, whom the band students call “Mommy Wilson,” said the boosters bring in clinicians and provide scholarships for students headed to college.
They also plan and cook meals for the students while they travel.
“We can do this so much cheaper” compared with sending the kids to get fast food, Wilson said.
Wilson said they also make their own flags for the color guard as a way to save money.
Long starts planning the fall craft sale about the time the spring craft sale wraps up. The fall sale is always bigger than the one in the spring: This year there were 285 booths in the fall, compared to 140 booths in the spring. The band collects vendor fees and $2 admission from shoppers. This year, the craft show had some competition, since it’s held at the same time as Custer’s Arts and Crafts sale at the Spokane fairgrounds.
“We’ve actually had a pretty good day,” said Dave Gnotta, one of the vendors at this year’s sale.
“My wife has done this show for 10 years now,” said Gnotta, which explained his prime location by the front door selling jewelry Silvia Gnotta makes. Although they have never had children attend Central Valley, his wife has been a big supporter of the band, he said. Band students were at the show early in the morning to help bring in their wares.
Gnotta said that when he and his wife thanked the students for the hand, they told him, “No, thank you for supporting us.”
Linda Cable said she comes every year to find “unique homemade things I can only get here.”
Cable’s daughter, Haley, a student at Greenacres Middle School, is looking forward to attending CV. “I also like the jewelry,” Haley said.
Melinda Jewell was selling handmade jewelry made with pieces of dried potato that had been painted and shellacked.
“I have to use russets,” Jewell said, because the variety has the right amount of starch to survive the dehydration process.
She said this is the second time she has sold this jewelry at the show.
“I was a CV mom,” she said. “But all my kids were in sports.”