POTTSGROVE PA – December, a little more than five months away, probably seems too far into the future for some to peer. The 55 members of the Pottsgrove High School Falcon Marching Band, however, are fixated on Dec. 27 (2012) as though it were tomorrow, because by then they hope to be sweating, smiling and swinging in unison down the streets of San Diego CA.
All they need is $99,000, give or take a buck or two.
The award-winning band, led by Pottsgrove High instrumental music director Victor Holladay, has won an invitation to perform during the nationally televised Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl parade and football game half-time show. It’s scheduled to be in California Dec. 26-31, but to get there it must raise $1,800 per person for expenses that Pottsgrove School District taxpayers can’t be asked to shoulder.
Band parent Deb Walter, whose son Kyle is among the chosen 55, and a committee has organized a full summer and fall of fund-raising activities. Like the band itself, she’s enthusiastic – maybe “driven” is a more accurate description – and confident of reaching the goal. “Attending the Holiday Bowl provides these talented and dedicated students with the opportunity to represent their organization, and their community on a nationwide scale,” she wrote in a recent letter.
Walter knows several small events can have a big impact on the bottom line. The fund-raising committee has scheduled a car wash and chicken barbecue dinner event on Aug. 11 (2012; Saturday) at Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School, Buchert Road; a children’s consignment sale Sept. 8 (Saturday), also at Lower; and a comedy show Sept. 15 at the high school, Kauffman Road.
- These events have been added to The Post Calendar, and also to the events listings on The Post’s Facebook page.
It’s also selling discount cards for restaurant patrons, magazine subscriptions, and banner advertising for a limited of the band’s community performances outside its regular high school football engagements and band competitions.
That Pottsgrove’s marchers can attract enough national attention to be asked to perform at the Holiday Bowl pleases, but likely no longer surprises, Holladay. The Falcons are perpetually proving themselves to be the “little” band that could, he’s told members of the Board of School Directors.
This April its musicians and performers paraded down the streets of Washington DC during the capital’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The band’s list of regional and local engagements has grown annually, and it has captured several first-place and other titles in Cavalcade of Bands competitions. Many of these honors usually are claimed by bands of 200 members, not those a quarter of their size, Holladay explained to directors last October.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the band is creating buzz among its most valued audience: Pottsgrove students. A record number of middle school graduates are poised to join the Falcon marchers’ ranks when the new academic year begins. Even more are awaiting their turns, participating in the elementary school bands behind them.
That’s due in part to significant changes made to the high school music program almost three years ago, according to Holladay and music teacher Kathy Williams. It’s also thanks, they added, to the band’s growing string of successes on the road … which now lead all the way to the West Coast.