“We only got money like every other seventh house, which was really annoying, but we got money, which was a good thing, and we got to hang out with our friends, which made it a better experience,” Sam said.
Saturday was Band Day for local high schools, the biggest fundraising activity of the year as student marchers sought contributions from willing residents to help pay for bands’ competition entry fees, transportation, instrument repairs and other needs.
The Reed band, all in all, managed to collect about $3,700, about $400 shy of last year’s donations.
Laura Taber, Sam’s mother and a member of the boosters club for the band, said the students have been dealt a tough hand this year so far. The 56-member band and team of Color Guard girls have had their schedule changed somewhat because Reed brought in a new music director; therefore, the students are learning to shift focus and memorize new music. Some band members also are preparing for a trip to perform in Sparks sister city Longford, Ireland.
“They got new music and then they got started late, so the march was late, the music was late and now we’ve got kids going off to Ireland,” Laura said. “It makes it a little tough. Anytime you have a change in leadership, there’s just a lot of adjustment from kids and parents that needs to take place, so we need to blend our ways so that everybody’s getting along. I think it’ll be fun.”
Director David Morris, who came from his teaching position of 16 years in Clark County, was pleased with the results in spite of the financial challenges many families face.
“Given the state of the economy and how tough it is, to be that close was huge, which says a lot about the Sparks community supporting kids and supporting music in the schools,” Morris said. “For me, coming from the past 16 years of living in Las Vegas and working in the Clark County School District, to come to a place where you can see some sense of community is one of the real benefits of being a teacher at Reed High School.”
Adapting to Morris and his call for new music has been fairly easy for some and being part of a band is special for the students.
“I like that I get to hang out with some people who can teach me stuff,” said freshman Jake Hull, first bass.
The musicians are actually looking to recruit incoming freshman who have an interest in picking up an instrument in any part of the ensemble, from wind to pit, or the non-marching part of the band that features bass guitarists, marimbists and the xylophone.
“Our band’s getting small and it’s hard to keep up with everything,” said Tyler Glider, a junior
Kyle McDonald, however, said it’s an opportunity for seasoned musicians to take on newer players.
“The freshmen come in and they learn to march, period, if we need to teach you how to play bass drum, if you need to learn to switch instruments,” McDonald said. “We need you to play baritone.”
Tyler said there is at least one strategy to find willing players.
“I wish we could perform for middle schools,” he said.
Saturday’s Band Day isn’t the last of Reed’s efforts.
The band is also overseeing a recycling program in which it is now collecting aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastics, which students or the public can dump into marked boxes on the west side of the school.
A coupon book will also be released soon for $20 that will give contributors discounts at local retail stores and restaurants and will be valid through December 2010. The band will sell the books at home football games.