Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wilkinson.
Chelsea High School marching band students practice during summer band camp.
The Chelsea High School marching band faces a problem. As more students join, its need for new equipment and uniforms increases.
“This is a good problem to have,” Dane Lawley, Chelsea’s band director, laughed.
Lawley would know. Now in his 38th year as band director for Chelsea High School, he remembers his first year when the band only had 12 members. Today, the band marches 186 students, including auxiliary groups like color guard, dance team and four majorettes.
To help purchase new equipment and uniforms, the band created Chelsea Day, a community event featuring music, kids’ inflatables and local craft and food vendors.
“It’s our main fundraiser for the year,” said Jon Curren, the vice president for the band boosters. “We call it a celebration of the arts.”
This year, Chelsea Day is on Saturday, Oct. 3. The band will be there in full force, as they play all day with small breaks between sets.
“The kids all love it. They get sunburned all day and have a good time,” Lawley said.
The band has prepared a large selection of music to play throughout the day, about 30 to 40 songs. And they are sure to perform the music from this year’s marching program, a collection of songs by Michael Buble. A stage will also be set up for listeners to enjoy music from the middle school band as well as local choirs and dance teams.
Lawley recalled the first Chelsea Day, then called Band-a-thon, which was a fundraiser in the Walmart parking lot where the band would play all day for donations as shoppers came and went. One year the band decided they wanted the event to have more of a community focus. So when Chelsea’s City Hall was completed, they moved the event to its lawn and invited everyone to join.
“Events like this are good for the community, and it shows them what we have accomplished and how we are growing,” Curren said.
The event is free to the public, but there will be many ways for visitors to donate to the band, including a silent auction throughout the day.
Lawley said he couldn’t be more proud of his band students and the amount of work they have put into this season, from the four weeks spent at band camp this summer to every football game and band competition throughout the year.
“Band kids are always the cream of the crop,” he said.
Anyone interested in being a vendor at Chelsea Day can contact Jon Curren at email@example.com.
- Oct. 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m
- Chelsea City Hall