In order to raise money for a trip to New York in 2014, the Foothill High School marching band has organized an online silent auction.
With nearly 300 students, the band is expected to play at Carnegie Hall and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“This is a life-changing experience,” said Travis Pardee, director of bands. “I hope to make it as cheap as possible for students to afford.”
The online auction is expected to be open until Dec. 16. The auction is set to culminate with a reception with food, drinks and raffle prizes from 5 to 7 p.m Dec. 16 in the Foothill High School cafeteria, 800 College Drive. Supporters are invited to stick around to see the marching band perform in a holiday concert at 7 p.m.
Pardee has been directing at Foothill since 2002.
He said in the past the band has been invited to compete and perform at the Winter Guard International World Percussion Championships, the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland.
The opportunities have allowed members to travel around the nation and in other countries.
This is the first time the band has been invited to New York.
“Only a small fraction of people can say they performed at Carnegie Hall,” Pardee said.
Amanda Vazquez, a sophomore at Foothill High School, said band has been an important part of her life.
“It has taught me so many different life lessons,” she said. “I am grateful for the people I’ve met. They are like family.”
She was excited when she was told that next year the band had the opportunity to go to New York.
“I’m a part of history,” she said. “This is something memorable to tell my grandkids one day.”
Pardee went to New York during Thanksgiving to watch the parade and follow another band through its day at the event.
He is already thinking about logistics and itineraries.
“They would get to New York, sightsee on Monday, perform at Carnegie on Tuesday, sightsee on Wednesday and then have a midnight call time for the parade,” he said. “They would have a 3 a.m. rehearsal, then five hours off.”
But before the band can get too ahead of planning, it faces the task of fundraising.
Pardee estimates the trip would cost about $600,000 total. Each student has to raise about $2,000.
Vazquez wasn’t surprised when she heard the daunting fundraising goal.
“It makes sense with that many kids,” she said.
The individual down payment of $250 was expected by Dec. 2.
Because of budget cuts within the Clark County School District, Pardee added that the cost to keep the band going is on parents, students and sponsors.
“The students do a lot of fundraising individually,” Pardee said. “They have coupon books and sell candy.”
He added that the majority of the money comes from local sponsors.
“It’s not likely a kid can raise $2,000 from chocolate,” he said.
When some of the parents approached Pardee with the idea to do an online silent auction, he thought it was a fantastic idea.
“In a perfect world, it could raise all the money,” he said. “We will see what happens.”
Fran Vazquez, Amanda’s mother, said she has seen the idea done before with other local charities.
She added that she was looking for an idea that could reach as many people as possible.
“All my family members live out of state,” she said. “They would love a way to be involved with fundraising.”
With the online auction, people can participate from anywhere.
Fran Vazquez said parents have been working hard to find donations for people to bid on ranging from spa packages and hotel stays to PlayStations.
“I have been going on my lunch hour and after work to restaurants to see if they’d be willing to contribute,” she said.
Individuals could also choose to donate.
“No donation is too small,” Fran Vazquez added. “(The band members) are so talented and work so hard. I just want to see them be able to do this.
For more information or to bid, visit foothill.auction-bid.org.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.