Community rallies behind BHS band
By Dwayne Bremer
Aug 13, 2013, 19:32
The Bay High band has received an outpouring of support in the past week in an effort to save the band's trip to Disney World.
Last week, a member of the Bay High Band Booster Club was arrested for allegedly embezzling about $12,000 from a fund set up for the trip.
Since then, local business and community leaders say they have raised more than $6,000 and hope to raise enough to save the trip.
One of the volunteers leading the charge is former BHS Band Director Catchie Crider.
"I have not seen this type of togetherness since Hurricane Katrina," Crider said Tuesday. "This trip is such a wonderful experience for the kids. They have put a lot of work into raising this money."
Crider began taking students to Disney World in 1989 when she taught at St. Stanislaus. When she moved to Bay High a few years later, she brought the tradition with her.
The Disney World trip takes place every other year, she said. While on the trip, the band competes in a music competition, marches in a parade in Disney World, and enjoys time at several theme parks in Orlando.
"We started this trip as a recruiting idea for the band and a way for us to compete against other bands," Crider said. "Band is not seasonal. It begins before school starts and lasts until graduation. It's a year-long commitment and the kids really put a lot of work in. The trip is a two-year process."
Throughout the school year, band members and boosters host car washes, bake sales, dinners, and other events to raise money.
One of the most popular fund raisers is selling "America's Finest Chocolate" candy bars.
The band has until Sept. 14 to pay $14,000 to reserve charter buses for the Disney World trip.
The total for entire trip is about $40,000, Crider said.
This year, there are 58 members of the band, dance team, and auxiliary.
Local businessman Mike Bell, whose daughter is a former band member, said he was spurred to action when he read Crider's letter to the editor in Saturday's Sea Coast Echo.
Bell and Waveland Ward Four Alderman Mark Kidd have taken the lead in raising money and have raised $6,120 so far, Bell said.
"My first thought was about the kids," Bell said. "I can't imagine what they are going through."
Kidd, who is a volunteer with local youth football, said it was easy to transition to helping the band.
"It's all about the kids," Kidd said. "I know how hard it is to raise money and that's why I got involved."
Bell said anyone wishing to donate to the band can send checks or money orders (no cash) to 909 Maple Street in Waveland. The checks should be made out to the Bay High Band Booster Club.
Bell said he has also been contacted by several other businesses and community leaders about fund-raisers for the band.
Two events which are already scheduled are a car wash this Saturday in the Walgreen's parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a spaghetti dinner at Southern Delights on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis on Sept. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"I would hope everyone in the community would consider supporting the band," Crider said. "It means so much for these kids."