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College Park High music groups showcase talent after successful fundraising campaign

Amanda Quatacker
College Park High School bands take a group photo before attending a Los Angeles Philharmonic performance.

While on spring break, the College Park High School combined Symphonic and Wind Ensemble band and the Chamber Orchestra participated in an extracurricular four-day educational trip to Southern California. And their hard work fundraising ensured the trip would happen. 

The bands departed on March 30 and attended a Los Angeles Philharmonic performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, took part in a professional backstage recording session at the Disney Imagination Campus, and performed on the Hollywood Backlot Stage in the Disney California Adventure theme park. 

But without the support of students, families, and the community, this trip would not have been possible. The Instrumental Music Program trips are funded solely by donations collected by the College Park Instrumental Music Boosters, a parent-led committee that aids in fundraising. Students and families also help with funding the program. 

The Instrumental Music Boosters help to arrange the many events and travel opportunities the program takes part in. The boosters plan the program’s annual fundraising dinner, the instrumental music “Showcase,” as well as setting up for the many band classes performances. The higher level bands have the opportunity to attend a trip like this every other school year.     

This year the students had only a few months to raise enough money for over 120 Instrumental Music students to attend the trip, but the students met the challenge. This year’s fundraising goal amounted to over $100,000, with students working to raise the money before a  Feb. 27 deadline for the necessary deposits. Many students participated in busking at local supermarkets each weekend throughout the community, bringing in thousands of dollars for the program. 

Some students were apprehensive as the deadline approached, with the large amount of funds needed to ensure the trip’s success. “I was a little worried, but Mr. J was confident, so I tried not to think about it too much,” said Wind Ensemble member Mimi McCall, referring to the school’s music director Jorge Jimenéz. 

While the fundraising goal was high, the Instrumental Music students and families stepped up to the challenge with many creative fundraising opportunities. Parents and boosters organized a See’s Candies fundraiser as well as Double Good Popcorn for students to raise money with each purchase made in support of the program. Students also performed at Side Gate Brewery in Concord with a percentage of sales made that day going to the program.  

The group’s fundraising efforts paid off, with students and families able to raise enough for all student groups to attend the trip. The trip provided an educational musical opportunity as well as time for students to connect with their peers.

“Not only did I get to experience Disneyland, something I had only done once before, but I was also able to gain more music knowledge and grow my relationship with other music kids,” said Taylor Hart, a 12th grade Chamber Orchestra student. 

Fellow 12th grader McCall held a similar sentiment: “I gained closer friendships and deeper memories. I also gained a greater appreciation for recording musicians.” 

The students were able to attend a backstage recording session at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, where students were able to play music just as professionals would for recorded media. Students were able to play in a professional setting in an hour long session with a Disney clinician. They were recorded and were able to hear their recording played back to them with notes from their clinician. 

“The Disney recording was so cool,” said McCall. “I had so much fun playing music that not only played during my favorite movies, but also underscored my childhood. I wish we played better, but I had a great time nonetheless.”

The efforts of the students and community to fund the trip gave the students an incredible opportunity. “I was really excited and proud of everyone. It was a great way to end my senior year, so when I found out, I couldn’t have been happier,” McCall said.

*Additional resources: 

Bailey Winey is a 12th grader at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill.


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