‘Marching’ for music

Cuthbertson bands host annual March-A-Thon fundraiser

by Josh Whitener

The Cuthbertson High School band, which has grown into one of the largest bands in the county, joins forces with the Cuthbertson Middle School band this weekend for their second annual March-A-Thon to benefit the schools’ concert and marching band programs. Photo courtesy of Todd Ebert

WAXHAW – For the second year in a row, the members of the Cuthbertson middle and high school bands are putting down their instruments to raise money for the program through the 2012 Cuthbertson Middle and High School Band March-A-Thon.

The March-A-Thon takes place Saturday, June 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cuthbertson High School football stadium, located at 1400 Cuthbertson Road, Waxhaw. Band members have been collecting pledges and will walk, run and/or march around the track to raise funds to support the concert and marching bands for the 2012-13 school year.

The band will take over the entire Cavalier Stadium to put on an event that will feature music, food, inflatable bounce houses, a dunking booth, cotton candy, snow cones and games for all ages. Twenty different local businesses and organizations are sponsoring the event.

The band students were invited to march last year in the Thanksgiving parade at Walt Disney World. Because of travel and instrument costs and other expenses, the school had to come up with a way to raise money.

“We had to raise the money quickly, so we had to put the first March-A-Thon together in about a month,” Cuthbertson High School’s band director Todd Ebert said. “We decided to go with a festival theme, and that (worked really well).”

Last year’s March-A-Thon was a crowning success, raising about $10,000 for the program. Although they’re not sure what the money will go toward at this point, Ebert said the funds will be put to good use.

“We have the option of doing several different events,” he said. “We’re not sure what, just yet, but we wanted to go ahead and raise the money and bank that.”

When the school first opened in 2009, the Cuthbertson High band consisted of only 27 students. Three years later, the band has grown into the largest in the county, with about 140 students enrolled. Ebert expects the roster to exceed 150 students next year.

For a high school music program, the Cuthbertson band is a bit unconventional. Between marching in the parade at Disney World, the march-a-thons and this year’s concert – a sort of zombie apocalypse-themed show called “Contagion” – the school has set itself apart from the typical high school band.

“Cuthbertson seems to have grasped the idea that you really have to have a drive to do something different, set a standard, and we’ve really puts ourselves out there this year,” said 17-year-old clarinet player Emily Glesias, who called playing in the Disney World parade “one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

One of the things Ebert loves about the March-A-Thon is that it involves both middle and high school students.

“My biggest hope as a band director is that students from all different grades will have the chance to come together and feel a sense of unity in one program,” he said.

For Glesias, who graduates later this month, it’s about leaving a legacy for the future students.

“Our band program is very welcoming, and we’re very excited to do everything we can,” she said. “We want to be an example for other bands in the area and for (future students) to be able to have all these opportunities and experience all these things in the high school.”

Ebert hopes the March-A-Thon will involve as many people from the community as possible.

“It’s a community event,” he said. “We try to bill it as something not just for band members. We want the whole community to come out and see what we’re all about.”

Tickets cost $10 each or $25 for an entire family. Opportunities to sponsor a band student also are available. For more information, call 704-296-0105 or visit www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=2034900.

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