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Band hopes fundraising will pave way to Pasadena

Supporters of the Golden Valley High School Cardinal Regime Band, which has been invited to march in the 2009 Rose Bowl Parade, are confident they'll raise the $110,000 necessary to make the trip.

About 160 band members are expected to take the trip from Dec. 28 to Jan. 2; each band member needs to come up with $700, Lee Pevsner, the band boosters' treasurer, said. Fundraising proceeds this year will go toward reducing the base costs for participating students, many of whom may have difficulty raising that much money.

"The trip will be great for the kids; it's a once-in-a-lifetime event," Sandra Vierra said. "I'm very optimistic about fundraising. This is something for all of us to be proud of." She is the booster group's first vice president.

Several fundraisers are planned. One of the first is a "presidential reception" May 30 at the home of Ben and Rose Mary Duran. The band's A and B jazz bands will be playing at the fundraiser, which will cost $25 per person. Band members also will be selling scrip for the Rose Parade trip at their July 4 fireworks sales booths.

"This (fundraising goal) is doable," Pevsner said. "We need a lot of support but we're going, whatever it takes. This (band appearance) is a community event; this is big. I feel a great sense of pride."

Pevsner said band members will get to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios but much of their time down south will involve practice. The parade route is 51/2 miles and Band Director Greg Christiansen will be working to build up band members' stamina for their long march on New Year's Day.

Ken Harris, band boosters' president, said the band is enjoying great parent and community support and excitement is building. He expects hundreds of Mercedians to make the trip with the band and said local travel agencies are working on excursion packages for local residents wanting to see the parade in person.

"It's just a fantastic opportunity," Harris said. "This is something the kids will never forget."

Pevsner said the campaign is being dubbed the Rose Parade Band Wagon and more fund-raising programs will be announced. There are designated intervals when students must turn in part of their trip fees. The first $100 is due at the end of April and another $200 is due at the end of June.

"It's a lot of money," Pevsner said. "We are going after every dollar we can get. We want people to participate in this; this is Merced going down there."

Pevsner said band boosters are looking for contributions from corporate sources, businesses and private individuals. If people or groups scheduling events need students to serve meals, band booster students will be available if donations are made to the Rose Bowl trip.

Vierra said she's glad Golden Valley students are being recognized for their hard work and extraordinary skills.

"They're learning so many skills," Vierra said. "There are a lot of good things going on with youth today. There are some great kids out there." She has freshman and senior students who will be marching in the parade.

The Tournament of Roses parade chairman and his wife, Corky and Marilyn Conzonire, will be in Merced on May 28-31 to speak to local service clubs about the world-renown parade, Pevsner said.

Merced High School participated in the 1990 Rose Bowl parade. Christiansen said it's difficult to be invited to participate in the parade but committee members suggested Golden Valley apply to take part.

There are three ways to donate to the band trip, Pevsner explained. Donations can be made through PayPal by going to the Web site www.gvhs.k12.ca.us and clicking on the band entry on the left margin. Pevsner also has a credit card machine that takes Visa, Master Charge and American Express and can be reached at 205-0428. Tax-deductible checks can be sent to the GVHS Band Boosters, P.O. Box 768, Merced, CA. 95341, with notations the money is for the Rose Bowl Parade.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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