Friday, July 10, 2020
US flag

Bands & schools come together for girl with tumor

Bands from three schools in north-suburban Gurnee, Illinois, will join forces tomorrow at 7 PM, putting their marching band performance excellence on display to help raise money for a fellow student who was recently diagnosed with two brain tumors.

The drums of Warren Township High School (school website)

Event Details & Results (update) — Fill the Drum 2015

Location: Warren Township High School, O’Plaine campus stadium
Address: 500 N. O’Plaine Road, Gurnee (map)
Date and Time: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 7 PM
Special Note: Check out the colored covering on Woodland’s sousaphones.

UPDATE 9/18: Elise Matusek, director of Symphonic Band 1 and the Woodland Middle School Marching Wildcat Band, emailed a follow-up: The marching event raised $4,251. And the musical night was awesome!

For an annual fundraiser known as “Fill the Drum,” marching bands from Viking Middle School in District 56, Woodland Middle School in District 50, and Warren Township High School in District 121 invite students and community members to an evening showcase performance by all three bands. The event carries no admission charge, so the bands ask attendees to make a freewill cash donation to, literally, fill up drums with money.

According to Jennifer Tempest Bova, public information specialist for Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50, the three districts collaborate on many endeavors. They each contribute to this annual fundraiser, she said, “in an effort to support one another and bring the community together.”

The devastation brought to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, was the first opportunity to convert what had been a simple halftime performance by two middle school bands to the fundraiser it is today.

The three bands sent about $10,000 to hurricane relief efforts through the American Red Cross right after Katrina and have in the years since sent slightly lesser amounts to people who lost their homes during the 2008 Iowa floods, who suffer from leukemia, who died from Alzheimer’s, and even who go hungry, making a donation in two of the years to the Warren Food Pantry.

Wednesday night, the Gurnee community continues that spirit of charity and excellence in raising money for the family of Taina Salas, a former Viking student who’s now a freshman at Warren Township High School. Taina was diagnosed with two brain tumors and is currently at home resting in preparation for surgery.

Before Katrina, the showcase provided an opportunity for the two middle school bands to perform at a junior varsity football game at Warren Township. But with the special need to provide tickets for people who just wanted to see the band and had no real interest in the junior varsity game, the showcase quickly became a separate event at the high school, apart from the football program.

The Woodland Middle School band

Now in her 30th year as a band director, 17 of them at Woodland, Elise Matusek leads a band program of 174 students. That’s a bit large for a middle school in the US, but District 50 is the fifth-largest K-8 district in the state in terms of student population. “I love what I’m doing,” she said. “This is a fantastic program, and it feeds a fantastic program.”

About 3 to 5 percent of Woodland’s students live within the boundaries for Grayslake Central High School; the remainder will attend Warren Township, where Chris Jenkins leads the Marching Blue Devils. Their show this year, entitled “Arachnophobia,” will be presented in competition this Saturday at the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival in Wheeling, on September 26 at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and on October 17 at Illinois State University, Normal.

Ms Matusek said she and her students were “honored to be part of this event that will help the Salas Family.” When Voxitatis talked with her this afternoon, she was finishing up putting colored covering on the marching tubas the band would use in their performance. “Our students are eagerly building their show,” she said.

If you want to help but can’t attend the event to throw cash into the bass and snare drums, donations can be mailed (and made payable) to the Warren Band Boosters Inc, 500 North O’Plaine Road, Gurnee, IL 60031. Attach a note saying it’s for “Fill the Drum.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.