It takes a village to raise a child — and a town to fund a high school band.
The Farragut High School Marching Admirals band is in need and they’re turning to the community for help — well, for talent, actually.
Larry Murphy, president of FHS Band Boosters, said the Boosters are headed into new territory after school starts in August. They’ll sponsor a free talent show that will feature the musical and theatrical abilities of area high-schoolers and adults.
The date for “Farragut’s Got Talent” hasn’t been set yet, but Murphy has his sights set on the fall. Now it’s time for interested parties to decide on what they will bring to the stage at FHS.
“We are looking for individuals, small ensembles and groups that want to perform all genres of music and theatrical acts,” Murphy said. “We would love to have community members, Farragut High School students, alumni, faculty and staff to share their wonderful talents. It’s open to anyone who has a true talent.
“We want it to be a reputable event, a really nice musical evening,” he added. “There’s a lot of talent in our community and they often don’t get a chance to showcase it. If it goes well, we’d like to make it an annual event.”
To raise money, audience members will have the opportunity to put money in a jar for their favorite act.
Murphy said he can’t predict what the event will raise.
“It’s all donations and it’s the first time we’ve done it. If we could raise $5,000 we’d be so blessed,” he said. “But if we raise $1,000 we’d be happy. There’s no pressure to donate. If you like a certain group, you can put it in their jar — but all the money goes to the band.”
The FHS band has 154 members in wind, percussion and guard. Murphy said it’s an expensive undertaking.
“We have to have music, props, drill designers, new instruments and replacement instruments. We never buy new instruments unless it’s percussion. I don’t think everybody in the community understands how hard it is to have an elite band program.”
Murphy said the band needs two baritone saxophones at a cost of $5,200 each. The band has 13 bad mellophones but need eight used ones at a cost from $1,500 to $1,600 each. The school is still using French horns from 1978 and has been repairing them. The band needs six at a cost of $5,500 each.
As far as technology on the field, the band needs two speaker carts at a cost of $1,350 each, one powered amp at a cost of $350 and two subs at a cost of $500 each.
“It would be great to level the lower level [junior class parking lot],” Murphy said, “and have it repaved with approval from Knox County Schools. There are many cracks and some are developing large cracks, causing trip hazards for the students and staff who use this as a practice field.
“The band gets $700 a year from Knox County Schools [similar to all high schools] and it costs $200,000 a year to run the marching and concert band programs,” he added.
“The fee to be in the band is about $500 per student and the uniform cost is another $160. The Winter Guard, Color Guard and indoor drum corps have an additional set of fees from $800 to $1,000, bringing the total to as much as $1,660.”
Murphy said the $500 covers drill design, music, special effects and props.
“That’s why we sell the fruit,” he said. “We’re doing a blitz day on Sept. 30. We select certain neighborhoods for kids to blitz on in teams of four with a parent driver. Usually the fruit is delivered the first week of December. We make about $10,000 on fruit.”
In addition, the proceeds from concessions on visitor’s side during home football games goes to the band. How much that brings in varies, Murphy said.
“Last year we might have netted $10,000. It’s going to be harder this year because our first game is on Labor Day weekend and we play Bearden during fall break. The Farragut athletic department is so great to work with — coach [Donald] Dodgen [athletic director]and coach [Eddie] Courtney [varsity football head coach]. They give us 200 football tickets to sell for $30 a ticket for a season pass. That’s $600 that goes right to the band program.
“We’re not in the hole,” Murphy added. “We have money in our account right now. When we go to Indianapolis for the Bands of America competition, the kids have to pay for their hotel room. It’s money in, money out ... last year we started with $34,000 in the account and now have $21,000 in the account, but we have a big bill to pay off instruments in August of $18,000.
“We are open to sponsorship, as well, from any business or groups ... any amount is helpful.”
Murphy invites the community to a pancake breakfast at Aubrey’s in Cedar Bluff Saturday, Aug. 5 [no starting time set at deadline].
To donate, contact Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporters also can help by selecting the band as a charity when purchasing things from Amazon, Murphy said. The link to the band’s Amazon account can be seen at www.farragutband.org