Photo of the Joplin Band, clad in “band-Ing” Together shirts, by Carmen Borup
All around the country, marching bands as well as music corporations and professional musicians are “band-Ing” together for the Joplin (Mo.) Eagle Pride Band, whose high school along with much of its city was destroyed by a tornado on May 22.
Barry Manilow purchased a semi-truck full of instruments for the band. Stanbury Uniforms helped to collect more than $9,000. A student-led effort by Sadie King and Chris Heeter of the Grain Valley (Mo.) Marching Eagles raised more than $1,600. And thanks to readers and fans—with special recognition to the Medina (N.Y.) Mustang Band—Halftime Magazine collected nearly $2,000.
According to Rick Castor, district director of instrumental music and the high school band director, more than 100 schools and groups have contributed to the band’s recovery. Webb City—about 10 miles away—and Little Elm (Texas) High School—330 miles away—were among the two that made the biggest impact, he says.
Diana Williams from Webb City reached out to Castor on the night of the tornado and later sent emails to all the band directors in the state, raising more than $12,000. Since then, Webb City has also helped to collect instruments and participated in a joint concert.
Meanwhile, Lanette Bowcutt, a band mom from Little Elm, heard about Joplin’s tragedy and instantly felt a connection. Her 16-year-old son plays tuba at Little Elm. “Realizing how much [band] meant to him, I knew that a lot of kids felt the same way,” she says.
While Little Elm raised more than $3,500 by selling T-shirts, its biggest impact came as a resource for others who wanted to help. Through the Facebook page, “band-Ing” Together for Joplin High School Band, many other individuals and groups found out how to contribute. In fact, Joplin has received at least $60,000 in donations and hundreds of instruments that—through mentions in letters—can be directly attributed to the “band-Ing” page, according to Bowcutt. Little Elm also bussed 18 kids and 20 adult volunteers to help kickstart Joplin’s summer band camp.
The Aug. 28 issue of People magazine showcased Bowcutt’s efforts. “I feel good that we became a communication tool for a lot of people who wanted to help but didn’t know how,” Bowcutt says.
To donate to the Joplin Eagle Pride Band, send your check to: Joplin Band Boosters, P. O. Box 3303, Joplin, MO 64803.