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KJH band longing to say, ‘We’re going to Disneyland’

KINGSTON — Few people have the honor of marching down Main Street, USA, serenading the likes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Even so, the award-winning Kingston Junior High School band has once again been selected to offer its tunes into the Anaheim air in Disneyland this May. But first things first — it must raise the money to get there.

“Prices are pretty high right now,” said KJH band booster vice president and trip organizer Teresa Hopper. “I went six years ago and it was about $200 for airfare and it was the same when the band went three years ago ... this year, it is $320.”

Multiply that by 180 students and enough supervisors to chaperone that many kids on an out-of-state trip, add in the extras and the total reaches $135,720. With that in mind, the KJH band and its boosters have been raising money since school started in September.

“We kicked it off with cookie dough fund-raiser that has become kind of a staple of ours,” said KJHBB co-president Barbara Potter. “What we’ve been trying to do is offer enough variety that it encourages the kids to want to fund raise.”

Students and chaperons are responsible for coming up with $585 to cover round-trip airfare, three nights at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel, a three-day ticket to Disneyland, a portion of meal costs and transportation. Since September, the group has been making installment payments of $120 almost every month in order to soften the need for one large deposit in the end.

Most of the money has been coming in through the community via fund-raisers. The band has sold everything from flower bulbs to cosmetics, candles to See’s Candy bars and has also been volunteering time and work in exchange for donations from local businesses and private citizens.

“(This trip) gives the kids a good experience in all kinds of ways,” Hopper said. “They have to plan and earn the money and figure out how to get there, they have to work together as a group once they are there and show their pride in themselves and their school.”

The band will descend on Disneyland May 6 with a three-song repertoire which will be controlled by the hands of director Jeff Haag.

“Some musicians use heavy metal, we use heavy brass,” Haag said of his band. “To see it live and see the band coming around the corner and all 180 of them right in your face, it’s powerful.”

“They’re wonderful, they literally move me to tears when I see them march,” Potter added.

The band has about three and a half months to solidify their marching corps, their music and raise the remainder of their funding.

However, the total amount raised is a little under halfway from complete on its course to raise $135,720, Hopper said. But the biggest event is yet to come.

Feb. 25, the band will be hosting a swing dance and silent auction at KJH with music provided by Kitsap’s own, the Buz Whiteley Big Band. Finger foods and dessert will be provided along with an evening of dancing. Tickets are $20, if interested, call Hopper at (360) 779-1814.

“For some kids, this may be the only vacation they get,” Potter said of why the trip is important. “It’s an opportunity for (the kids) to get away for the weekend and go somewhere sunny and warmer, and be able to have the prestige to say, ‘You know I played on Main Street in Disneyland.’”

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