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Community helps local marching band finish out season

No money, no marching band was almost the story for the Pocatello High School marching band.

The band was short on funding to finish out its competitions for the season, but the community came together to change that.

In the early morning hours if you drive by Irving Middle School’s football field, you might hear the marching band hard at work practicing for their next competition.

But that competition almost didn’t happen.

The band was short about $2,000 to be able to compete and finish out their marching band season. The band has its own fundraisers throughout the year, but it doesn’t cover all the costs that come with band. The students are responsible for a large chunk of it on their own – the band activity fee, which is upwards of about $200. For several students, that amount was tough to come by.

Costs involved with marching band include uniforms, transportation costs, travel expenses and more. With some students not being able to cover the cost of the activity fee, there wasn’t enough in the budget to send the band to the last few competitions of the season.

“It’s tough, it’s extensive,” said David Beckstead. “The only activities that bring in money are athletics, band doesn’t. So we rely on student fees and our budget. And it costs a fair amount. We got parents sometimes with two kids in the band and that’s twice the fee. We’ve got some kids that struggle economically to raise that money.”

So parents and neighbors started a Go Fund Me page to try and help raise the funds. It quickly raised the $2,000 needed. That sent the band to a competition last weekend in Minico, and will send them to Pleasant Grove, Utah this weekend.

Beckstead said without that community support and the donations, those competitions wouldn’t have been possible.

Beckstead said people from the Pocatello community, including other high schools, helped out the cause. He said they also saw donations from places like Idaho Falls, Rexburg and even some as far away as Texas.

“Me personally, I thought it was great and amazing that the community actually helped us out,” said Mark Schaeffer, a band senior. “Even like some of the other schools as well so I thought it was great.”

“It meant a lot to me,” said Bailey Byington, drum major. “Marching band is everything so to know that that many people care about us and will help us when we need help, I’m very thankful.”

“I can’t tell you what it means,” Beckstead said. “These kids come out and they work hard every day. They’re out here and it’s been cold. And they just work hard and put in a great amount of effort. I know it means a great deal to them that their efforts are being recognized as important to our community.”

Some students said the band is about more than just being involved or making music, being a part of the band holds even more meaning for them.

“I was that person that was really shy and like wouldn’t come out of my shell,” said Shelby Billington, a color guard member. “Then they got me into this and I just discovered it’s what I love doing and I’m really even more of an outgoing person and it’s just what I love to do.”

Beckstead and the students said Utah is one of the biggest competitions and they are looking forward to it. The band members said heading to Utah this weekend will be even more special to them knowing how they got there and how much support they had. Some said it gives them even more motivation because they want to make the community, and those who donated, proud.

At the Minico competition last week, Pocatello took first place in their division. At the ISU marching band invitational earlier this month, the band took second in their division.

After marching band season ends, the band then moves right into concert band season.

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