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Massena music group begins 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 Michael Olson at Mainly Music.

“It really is a nice-looking, beautiful-sounding instrument,” said 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.”

The French horn and bassoon that the school wants to buy were identified by band director Jonathan L. Hunkins as a high priority. “They are more specialized and very often need to be supplied by the school,” Mr. Haggett said.

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at Phil and Jackie’s, Seasons Specialty Gifts and Mainly Music and from members of the Massena Music Friends. They will sell them at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s Heritage Festival on Saturday in 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, also will 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 startup donation from Northern Music,” said interim officer Patricia R. Tubbs.

The group had its 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.

“We should be doing something,” Mrs. Tubbs said. “This is a music town as much as it is a hockey town. This was an area where I could make a difference.”

Like any other extracurricular activity, the music program provided students with valuable teamwork, she added, and taught them skills they might not have known they had.

“I think it’s beneficial to students across the board. It’s a ticket to success for many students,” she 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 people by staffing information tables at holiday concerts in November and December.

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

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

“We need volunteer support for the things we’re doing,” he said, such as selling raffle tickets, providing refreshments at concerts and setting up and tearing 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.

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

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

But to make the fundraising successful, they need volunteers 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, call Mrs. Tubbs at 769-1982 or Mr. Haggett at 769-9048.

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