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Massena Music Friends begin new fundraiser

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MASSENA - Someone is going to win a brand new guitar and case, and it’s going to help the Massena Music Friends in the process. The group, which formed in October 2010, hopes to raise enough money to purchase two new instruments - a French horn and a bassoon - for the Massena High School Band.

The Takamine EG440 acoustic/electric guitar was donated by Mike Olson at Mainly Music in Massena.

“It really is a nice looking, beautiful sounding instrument,” according to Paul A. Haggett, an interim officer with the Massena Music Friends. “We have 500 raffle tickets. We hope to sell out. If we sell out, we’ll have successfully raised $2,300. It’s dedicated to the purchase of two instruments identified by Mr. (Jonathan) Hunkins as a high priority. They (the French horn and bassoon) are more specialized and very often need to be supplied by the school.”

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at Phil and Jackie’s, Season’s Specialty Gifts, Mainly Music and from members of the Massena Music Friends. They’ll be selling them at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s Heritage Festival Saturday at the Massena Arena and during a craft show in conjunction with the upcoming Firemen’s Convention in Louisville.

The guitar and case, which retail for $760, will be given away during the June Rocks! concert June 11 at the high school. Tickets, if any remain, will also be available that night.

There are also cash prizes of $200 for the second place winner and $100 for the third place winner.

“It was a nice start-up donation from Northern Music,” interim officer Patricia R. Tubbs said.

The group had their beginnings in October 2010 when a few interested parents met with Massena Central School officials about their idea after attending a budget hearing and listening to students implore school officials to save their program.

“I was thinking, these programs are important. We should be doing something. This is a music town as much as it is a hockey town. This was an area where I could make a difference. I ran into two parents who were thinking the same thing,” Mrs. Tubbs said.

She noted that, like any other extracurricular, the music program provided students with valuable teamwork and taught them skills they may not have known they had.

“I think it’s beneficial to students across the board. It’s a ticket to success for many students,” Mrs. Tubbs said.

They met with Superintendent Roger B. Clough II, high school Principal Patrick J. Farrand and Mr. Hunkins and “kicked the idea around,” she said.

Their goal, she said, was to do things above and beyond what the district’s budget would allow.

They obtained a list of parents they could call to see if they were interested in joining the effort, and an exploratory meeting in November 2010 drew more than 20 interested parents. The group went on to recruit another 50-plus individuals by manning information tables at holiday concerts in November and December.

They have approximately 200 supporters right now, according to Mrs. Tubbs.

“People stepped up and took a leadership role, she said

Not all of supporters are active, though, and that’s what they need at this juncture, Mr. Haggett said.

“There are three reasons for the Massena Music Friends. One is fundraising. It’s probably the most time-consuming and important aspect. We need volunteer support for the things we’re doing,” he said, such as helping sell raffle tickets, helping with providing refreshments at concerts and, coming up, helping set up and tear down for the June Rocks! concert.

Mrs. Tubbs said the concert refreshments initiative started in spring 2011.

“We started to offer water bottles and cookies,” she said, noting they made $50 to $60 per show.

“That helps a bunch. It’s something people seem to appreciate,” she said.

The initiatives to raise money are important, according to Mrs. Tubbs and Mr. Haggett.

“We’re not in a position yet to really be able to help. We’ll certainly do what we can. Hopefully someday we can help make a major improvement,” Mr. Haggett said.

“It (the fundraising) doesn’t replace anything. It keeps the program strong,” Mrs. Tubbs said.

But in order to make the fundraising successful, they need the bodies to help.

“More than anything we need additional people to step forward,” Mr. Haggett said. “If you have kids in the program or are a person who comes to a concert, now is the time to get involved. If we can get 50 or 60 parents of kids that are up and coming in the music program to get involved, it helps keep the program strong.”

For more information, contact Mrs. Tubbs at 769-1982 or Mr. Haggett at 769-9048.

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