'No mountain high enough' to keep Smith-Cotton marching band from Memphis
Oct 27, 2012 (Menafn - The Sedalia Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" isn't just part of this season's repertoire for the Smith-Cotton Tiger Pride Marching Band. It also sums up the challenge students face in their quest to perform New Year's Eve at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Band members, parents and boosters are in the home stretch of ascending their mountain -- raising 500 per student to cover costs for the trip -- but that effort has been on fast-forward due to a shorter-than-usual window.
"We knew this was going to be a harder year because normally we start planning for a trip right after school starts and then we have all school year to fundraise, but this year we don't," said Sherry Jo Painter-Torres, president of TIMPO, the S-C instrumental music booster club. And while initial approval for the trip came in May, "The kids didn't really start getting the details on the trip and the preliminary itinerary until they got back to school (in August)."
The itinerary has students leaving Sedalia on Dec. 28, competing in field and parade competitions, marching in the Liberty Bowl parade and performing at halftime of the game on New Year's Eve and returning home Jan. 1.
"We tried to keep the cost of our trip down," Painter-Torres said. "500 is not bad, considering we are gone from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1."
Smith-Cotton Director of Instrumental Music Grant Maledy said 61 students are scheduled to make the trip, and 10 of them already have paid in full.
"They've done good, we have several kids who are paid off, several who are close, but we still have several whose parents are struggling financially and they are trying to figure out every possible fundraiser they can," Painter-Torres said. "But unfortunately, the Liberty Bowl says we only have until the end of November to send the money in."
Band students and boosters have been raising funds for the trip in a variety of ways, including discount cards, working at local restaurants for tips and traditional gift and food promotions. Also this year, the band has teamed with the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce to sell the Chamber's annual Christmas ornament, which this year features the original Smith-Cotton High School building on one side and the new high school on the other. The ornaments are 12, with a portion of the cost going to the trip fund of the band student making the sale.
"We try really hard with our fundraising to make it something of value," Maledy said. "The band card has a bunch of great deals for local businesses -- you could easily save your 5 for the card. And I think the Christmas ornaments are a really interesting thing. They're beautiful and look great."
Painter-Torres said the Century Resource fundraiser, which offers cheese, sausage and chocolate items, "make good gifts ... and they will be delivered in time for Christmas."
Students have bussed tables at El Tapatio eight times since the start of school, and through a tip jar and receipt of 10 percent of sales those days, they have brought in 1,500. Colton's also donated 10 percent of its proceeds to the band one night, which paid for one of the trip's bus drivers.
Maledy sees the Liberty Bowl trip as "an educational experience. ... When we travel, we get to expose ourselves to things we don't know about or places we haven't been. We get to see sights we haven't seen, we get to watch bands we haven't seen before. It's an opportunity to perform in front of a very large crowd at the Liberty Bowl itself, as well as the parade through Memphis. The opportunity to represent the state is a really cool thing."
The band will perform this season's Motown-themed show, with a few refinements. Along with Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," the play list includes "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5; "Respect" by Aretha Franklin; and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by The Temptations. They also will need to learn the music for the group performance at halftime.
"These kids are good," Painter-Torres said. "They march great, they work hard every day. I see them out behind the school every day that it isn't pouring rain."
But the band has a lot more going on than just practicing and fundraising for Memphis.
"When you've got an eight-minute marching band show, then you have three or four pieces you are trying to get ready for a Christmas concert -- not even mentioning district band and all of the other things we've got going on this time of year, veterans parade, Christmas parade -- all those things will happen between now and the time we go to Memphis," Maledy said. "That's a lot of balls to keep in the air, but I think we've planned for it pretty well and we are going to be just fine."
But getting to Memphis will require more money. Painter-Torres said she was impressed with a couple of band students whose trip fees have already been paid. They came up to her last week to ask if they could still fundraise to benefit a friend in their section whose family needs some help paying for the trip.
"We're always excited to accept donations, either to the band in general or for specific band students," Maledy said. "We have students out there every day scrapping, trying to sell. Most of the students are working on it one way or the other."
How to help: To purchase Smith-Cotton Tiger Pride Marching Band fundraiser items or to make a donation for the Liberty Bowl trip, contact Grant Maledy at 851-5366 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sherry Jo Painter-Torres at 221-5792 or
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