One thing families can count on seeing at most community events is the Zachary High School band, whether it’s a few students from the jazz ensemble or the entire Band of Blue.
Each year, the ZHS band leads the procession in the community’s Christmas parade, the school’s homecoming parade, during Veterans Day celebrations or at charitable fundraisers such as American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
During the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and at the opening session every August for returning school district administrators, principals and teachers, soothing sounds from the jazz band can be heard against the din of idle chatter.
At Friday night football games, the band commands the field at halftime, and at school and community pep rallies, band students motivate fans. At elementary school parades, academic events and area nursing homes, the ZHS band is ever-present.
It’s why the Bronco Band Boosters, about 20 volunteer parents of band students, are doing all they can to drum up community support through several upcoming fundraisers that will benefit the entire ZHS band, including the color guard and feature twirler.
“Our main goals are to support the kids and band leaders, fundraising and to offer help and support where needed,” Booster President Mike Musselman said. “Without our support, the band program would be in a world of hurt.” Musselman, whose stepdaughter is in the band, said the boosters are trying to be more active.
At a recent rainy band practice, the boosters worked to collect donations for an upcoming yard sale, secure monetary donations for much-needed items, hand out band event schedules and pass around parent volunteer sign-up sheets.
“We’re a 5A school, and we should have a 5A band,” Karen Collins said. She and her husband, Bryan, have active roles in the Bronco Boosters.
Collins said the group hopes more band parents get involved. Presently, 100 regular band members, 15 color guard members and one feature twirler make up the ZHS Band of Blue.
“There’s a lot to do, and we could use the help from other band parents,” she said.
“We really need the support of the community to help Mr. (Jason) Venable and Mr. (Donny) Alexander. They work so tirelessly, and I think their morale, understandably, gets down sometimes, and this affects the kids,” said Stephanie Albarez, whose daughter, Miranda, is the twirler. “I don’t think the community realizes the amount of work those two men and their students put into getting ready for football season and the upcoming school year.”
Venable and Alexander are band teachers and directors.
To raise the much-needed funds for new instruments, repairs to existing ones, silks (flags) for the color guard and many other expenses, the boosters have organized a yard sale, car wash and jambalaya sale they hope businesses, organizations and families will support.
A Band of Blue car wash is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Bank of Zachary’s location on the west end of town in front of LeBlanc’s Food Store on Church Street. Anyone can pledge a certain amount for each car washed that day or make an outright donation. Checks should be made payable to Bronco Band Boosters.
The yard sale is from 7 a.m. to noon July 18 at ZHS under the walkways near the band room. Jambalaya plates will be sold during the yard sale for $7 per plate and will include jambalaya, salad, a roll and dessert.
Also, the boosters will collect donations for the yard sale during a band camp slated for July 13-16 at the high school. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, residents, businesses and organizations wishing to donate can drop off new to gently used items that are priced to sell at the band’s music trailer located outside the band room.
“The band students, color guard, twirler and directors all work equally hard getting ready for football season,” Albarez said. “We’re hoping an organization or business will read this and pitch in to help the color guard with their new flags. They tend to be left out of the fundraising efforts, and they’re such a significant part of the visual aspect of the band.”
“We need all the support we can get,” Musselman said. “When cuts are made, usually the arts are the first to go, and the arts include the band.”
Other ways the boosters are taking an active role is by working on a grant from ExxonMobil. Any time volunteered by a parent, resident or employee, including retirees, of ExxonMobil will go toward obtaining the grant. Collins asks that volunteers email her at karen.collins@zachary schools.org if they can help.
Booster Dawn Turner, whose daughter Shelby and son Robbie are in the band, donates proceeds from some of her hand-stamped jewelry designs to the band. The pieces can be found at several businesses in Zachary (A Creative Touch, Shear Image, 4 Sisters Antiques) as well as online at tagyourit.biz.
“I don’t think people realize all that goes into preparing for performances in Bronco Stadium,” Turner said. “This is just a small way I can give back.”
Parents of band students who can volunteer or who wish to join the Bronco Band Boosters should email stephanie. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses, organizations or anyone wishing to make a monetary donation to the ZHS Band of Blue can email email@example.com.
“You know, someone recently said as we were just getting started with our fundraisers, ‘Can you imagine Friday night in Bronco Stadium without the band?’ ” Albarez said.
“It was a thought that made us all smile.”