On Friday, April 28, the LaBelle High School Band hosted a dinner fundraiser. They sold chicken, roast beef, seasoned rice, green beans, cole slaw, rolls, and iced tea for $25 a meal. The dinner was sold in the cafeteria and the band performed after dinner.
The LaBelle High School marching band is raising money to purchase new uniforms. They raised $12,000 out of the expected $36,000, hoping to raise $25,000 by the end of 2017.
The LaBelle High School Cowboy Band would like to thank their Platinum Sponsors: Duda Farm, U.S. Sugar, and Lipman Produce, Gold Sponsors: Heartland Registry, Inc., Agriquest, Inc., and Southwest Ag Service, Silver Sponsors: Gulf Citrus Growers Assoc. Inc, Darryl Damon, DDS, Steve Spence, K&M Drugs, Gulf Coast Baby Barrier, M.C. Ventures Truck Bodies, Inc., Daniel and Amanda Nelson, Main Street Car Wash, First Bank of Clewiston, Sun Country Citrus Hauling, D&K Harvesting, Inc., Johnson Engineering, Randy’s Garage, and Florida Community Bank, and their Honorable Mentions: Aiken-Davis Funeral Home, Center State Bank, Kenny’s Muffler and Tire, Badcock Furniture, Payroll Solutions, Clean Ride Limo, Capt. Quick Lube, Bob and Debbie Hampton, Rick and Cheryl Overberg, Kyle Davis, K&B Pump, Porterfield Oil Company, Log Cabin BBQ, and The Quart House.
Emilio Hernandez, Tracy Langford, McDonald’s, and Buddy Taylor donated door prizes for the silent auction at the fundraiser dinner. Log Cabin, Save-a-Lot, and Winn Dixie donated gift cards for the 50/50 raffle.
“We want to raise money for new uniforms because the current uniforms are too thick,” said Philip Eyrich, director of the LaBelle High School Band, “they are falling apart. We want to buy uniforms that will last 15-20 years and will stand up to the Florida heat they will be exposed to from August to November during our marching band season.”
“We are a little over one-third of the way toward our fundraising goal,” said Eyrich, “we hope to raise the full amount by the end of the 2017-2018 school year so the first year the new uniforms will be used will be when the current sophomores are seniors.”
During the 2016-2017 marching season the LaBelle High School Band earned ratings of Excellent at two competitions and Best in Class. Two students were chosen to compete in the 2017 Tri-State Band Festival, and one student was chosen to compete in the 2017 All-State High School Honor Band.
“The LaBelle High School band will host a Spring Concert on May 16 at 7:00 pm in the High School Auditorium,” said Eyrich, “they will also be hosting a preview performance of the new marching show at the end of band camp the first Saturday in August.
“This past Tuesday the High School hosted students from the Florida Gulf Coast University Wind Orchestra,” said Eyrich, and “our students are becoming more passionate about being in the LaBelle High School Band because they were able to hear some top-quality musicians without having to go very far from home.”
“We were shy freshmen and scared of a new band director,” said Sadie Gaskins, a freshmen alto saxophone player and Austin Wilcox, a freshmen trumpet player, “Emma and Alondra welcome everyone and encourage new people to stay in band. We realized it really is a family. Marching band is a different and an amazing experience. We never expected to be part of something so good.”
“Mr. Eyrich accelerated fundraising and got the band more involved with the community,” said Frank Puletti, a sophomore trumpet player, “I’m thankful for the opportunities becoming focused on fundraisers gives us. It will allow us to buy props which will help use improve our appearance and raise our scores at competitions.”
“We all look out for each other,” said Luis Gomez, a junior who plays 8 different instruments, “we express our feelings through song.”
“The most awesome people in the school are in the band,” said Emma Bridwell, junior and band captain, “You create something emotional when you are in the band.”
“Being in the band gives you confidence, sociability, and is a booster to self-esteem,” said Alondra Reyna, junior and drum captain, “They apply both to being in band and to being in the classroom.”
When Emma and Alondra attended leadership camp they had to act out a mock situation about a band member saying they wanted to leave the band. Scenarios of students needing rides, money, not having enough time, or worried about their education were acted out.
Next year, when Emma is a senior she hopes to share her love of the band, have an awesome season, and reach her highest potential. She wants to major in music education and become a band director.
Alondra hopes for the band to keep growing and have administrators, the student body, the community, and teachers support the band and help them become bigger and better in her senior year. She was awarded a scholarship from Florida Gulf Coast University for music education, but wants to major in Psychology.
“Mr. Eyrich is the fifth director of the band in six years,” said Reyna and Bridwell, “he has the prior knowledge, experience, spunk, and sociability needed to lead the band. He gets the band more involved with the community and knows what it takes to make the students do their best.”
“Mr. Eyrich has made an immense difference,” said Emily Schwarz, senior clarinet player, “he is very good and well qualified. He instills motivations and life lesson into us. My advice for any new members in the band is to never give up and be the best you can be.”
Emily plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall for Software engineering and audition for their orchestra.
“I will never leave the LaBelle High School band,” said Schwarz, “I will be back to volunteer.”
“Our main principle is to have PRIDE,” said Eyrich, “it stands for perseverance, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence. The first thing that had to change when I became director of the LaBelle High School band was the mentality. I want to make musicians, not robots. The students and staff in this band program are a family, and this family has many successes to be proud of this year.”