USSBA meets with bands in New Jersey prior to 4/20 budget vote

Give backs and fund raising ideas to assist bands in tough times


George Hopkins, CEO of Youth Education in the Arts, talks with New Jersey band directors and booster representatives Tuesday night.

During a two-hour discussion on a variety of topics from the current budget situation facing the schools in New Jersey to ways the US Scholastic Band Association can support bands and music programs this year and in the coming years, George Hopkins CEO of YEA!, Sean King Director of the USSBA, and the USSBA team met an audience of band directors, staff members and band boosters on Tuesday, April 13 at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. 

“This meeting definitely had a positive tone of cooperation and partnership between the music programs and the USSBA,” said Sean King about the evening.  “It is important to know the USSBA is working very hard to support programs in every way possible.” 

George Hopkins, a veteran of budget discussions in the past said, “We will get through this together as we did before.”  Hopkins continued, “The important thing is that we do not take our eye off the mission of providing fabulous experiences for young people.  It is not about the competition or even the performance; it is about the experience in music that helps young people become great adults or great employees, but in the end great citizens.” 

Hopkins concluded, “We encourage all to get out and vote on school budgets next week.” 

Subjects on the evening’s agenda ranged from initiatives the USSBA can engage, including price reductions on the Northern States Championships by 25 percent and adjudication adjustments for 2010, to those items bands can do for themselves, including the discontinuing of trophies at events and collaboration between two bands hosting less well-attended events. 

Music advocacy has become a pillar of the USSBA commitment to bands, and the announcement of the new Music Advocacy Resource Guide on the USSBA Web site is only the beginning of the initiative which will also feature publicity surrounding all that music offers youth.  Also included will be features about students and programs at local, regional and national events this coming fall and spring. 

Lastly, the USSBA is offering to assist current Member Bands the basics of the Marchathon, a proven fundraiser that can be extremely profitable.  Exclusive to USSBA Member Bands only, the Marchathon fundraiser can either be run solely by the individual unit or in conjunction with the USSBA.

Linda Mackiw, Band Booster President of Hillsborough High School, said about the meeting, “I have to admit, I wasn't sure what kind of concrete help the USSBA would be able to offer, but I was very impressed with the work you have all put into this. The suggestions about trophies and letter-writing, and the reduction in Northern States quotas will be a real help. We appreciate how proactive your organization has been.”

More details on all of the USSBA initiatives to assist bands will be available is a series of articles in the coming weeks. Stay close to the USSBA Web site for announcements and releases.

CLICK HERE for Band Advocacy resources. 



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