Photo by Debbie Laferty Asbill
Two weeks before Bands of America Grand National Championships, Music for All CEO Eric Martin decided to rally the music community to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts during the championships. Hurricane Sandy had hit the Mid- Atlantic and Northeastern United States in late October, causing massive flooding and power outages.
Martin began the donations with $100, and by the end of the weekend, students and spectators raised more than $11,000, which was given to the American Red Cross.
“Over $11,000 is an incredible amount to raise, especially when these people donating have already spent money to get there, money to get in, money for food, and the list goes on and on,” says Erin Fortune, marketing coordinator at Music for All. “The fact that they opened their wallets yet again, to band together and donate to this cause, is incredible.”
Members of the Avon (Ind.) High School Orchestra helped Music for All collect the donations. The volunteers were asked to help walk the stands of Lucas Oil Stadium during semifinals to accept donations, but they asked if they could stay and collect donations during finals as well. In addition, Music for All’s Information and Awareness Booth accepted donations.
“Being a part of a music program is about being a part of a community, and sometimes with competition, your sense of community can get narrowed into just your band and school,” Fortune says. “However, I really think that the relief effort opened up those communities to embrace each other as one large music community.”
Several schools from affected regions of the storm attended the championships. Avon High School hosted Bridgewater-Raritan High School from New Jersey on its campus before the competition, marking the first time that the band was able to rehearse since the hurricane hit.
Fortune says that Music for All hopes to see a student-driven project every year at BOA Grand National Championships. “While Hurricane Sandy was a terrible event, it was a good opportunity to start the initiative and to spark students to take action and practice servant leadership,” Fortune says.