ELYRIA — The Elyria High School Pioneering Marching Band is Florida bound.
The 110-member band has been accepted to perform during the Edison Festival of Light grand parade in Fort Myers and in the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. But before the drummers, flutists and trumpet players can travel to the Sunshine State, the band needs to raise a lot of money.
Band Director John Shepka said the trip, set for February, will cost about $65,000 for the entire band.
“It is not cheap to move us around,” he said Friday, moments after band members wrapped up the first part of a two-a-day practice.
Since July 28, band members have been practicing formations and sound during lengthy practices in the hot sun at Roosevelt Elementary School. It doesn’t happen by chance that the band is ready to play when the football team snaps the ball for the first time in the season.
Elyria Schools will pay none of the cost of the trip. Instead, it has to be done with fundraisers and donations.
This is why one week from today, the marching band hopes Elyrians will want to scream for ice cream.
The marching band will host its second annual Ice Cream Challenge 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 in the dining hall of Elyria High School. This year’s sponsors include Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen, Mitchell’s Ice Cream and Menchie’s.
Guests can sample as much ice cream and yogurt as they like and vote for their favorites. All of the proceeds of the fundraiser will go toward the trip.
“There will be several future fundraisers,” Shepka said. “We will try to raise as much as possible because any that we fall short on the $65,000 will have to be made up by the parents.”
The group has been raising money since last school year. They already have raised about $6,000 through several band days at Chipotle.
Tickets for the Ice Cream Challenge are $10. Tickets are available at the door or from a band member in advance. Band members who sell tickets will have the proceeds deducted from their individual totals.