Members of the La Grande High School band return to the Walmart parking lot for their annual fireworks sale, a fundraising event for the coming school year’s band activities. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
La Grande High School band uses funds to pay for annual tour
The fireworks tent outside Walmart is empty except for a few students and their parents when another parent in a minivan pulls up with ice cream.
“Who had a cone?” one dad asks.
On one of the hottest days of summer so far, La Grande High School band members are manning the fireworks tent in Island City, the only tent selling fireworks in the area.
Taking two-hour shifts, the students are earning credits toward the next school year’s band tour.
“Every year we have a fireworks fundraiser,” says McKenzie Jerofke, a senior tenor sax player.
And each year, the band travels to a metropolitan area to soak in the musical opportunities the cities have to offer. Last year, they went to Portland and the coast and the year before that, Seattle. During Jerofke’s freshman year, they went to Boise.
Mid-afternoon, the tent is relatively quiet, but Jerofke says they got a little rush during the lunch hour.
“It normally is in the evening we get the big flow,” she says.
Band Director Chris Leavitt says the fundraiser has been held each year for close to 30 years.
“I took over in 2010,” he said. “It’s been a really great fundraiser for our program and for our kids.”
At the end of the Fourth of July sales period, money is totaled and TNT Fireworks, which owns the operation and fireworks, donates 25 percent to the band.
For the full story, see Wednesday's issue of The Observer