The Oneonta High School Redskin Band is going on parade. After being chosen to perform this year in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the nation, the band has been raising money to fund their trip, with each student responsible for $699 of the cost. David Bearden, who will begin his 23rd year as Oneonta’s band director this fall, estimated the total cost of the trip to be close to $200,000.
Though the band goes on a trip every three years, this year marks a special occasion, since the band will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.“I wanted to do something different this time,” Bearden said,“something really big.”
To Bearden, this achievement is something his students have won and shows that their hard work has paid off.“They usually have several hundred bands that apply each year,” he said. “And out of those several hundred that apply, they only select 19 to perform.”
Since learning about being chosen to take part in the parade, the band has been hard at work to raise the necessary funds, selling cookie dough, sportswear and even bed linens, which have been the best seller to date.“We have sold just about everything you can imagine,” Bearden said.
In total, the band has raised more than $80,000, not including $40,000 in contributions from boosters. With more bed sheets and cookie dough to be sold and a spaghetti dinner being hosted July 24 at Lester Memorial United Methodist Church, Bearden is hopeful that they will earn the remaining funds in time for the mid-October deadline.
But this is about more than a trip. According to Bearden, this opportunity will give the band, the school and the community national exposure.“That’s something that’s never been done,” he said.“We’ve never had a group from anywhere in this immediate vicinity perform before a national televised audience before. And so, that’s a pretty big thing.”
To contribute to the band’s fundraising, contact David Bearden at 205-274- 2019.To watch the OHS Redskin Band perform, tune in on Thanksgiving Day at www.6abc.com for a live broadcast of the parade.