On Saturday morning, the R.L. Paschal High School Marching Band was ready to go, donned in Paschal purple and white. Band members came prepared for the marathon event, mostly wearing athletic gear and running shoes. The parent volunteers, meanwhile, were scrambling to complete their last-minute duties, packing food and water in coolers and loading up for each of the band’s two rest stops – Blue Bonnet Circle Park and Foster Park.
The police arrived to escort the students through the March-a-thon route, and the parade played a rousing drum cadence, signaling the march to begin. The band marched all the way down West Bowie Street, a sea of purple performing for the passers-by and the 109 residents who came out to see them.
Paschal Marching Band, along with parent volunteers, held its third annual March-a-thon, which is the biggest fundraiser for the band all year. Roughly estimated, the band has raised around $10,000 and will be collecting donations through the end of this week. The money raised goes directly into the band, covering expenses including travel, uniform cleanings, and mandatory participation fees.
We did not have many fundraisers in the past, said Kal Silverberg, parent and co-chair of the event. We wondered how we could raise more money and the Paschal Band March-a-thon was one of the ideas we came up with.
The trek covered 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and began in the parking lot behind Paschal on Forest Park Boulevard. The band weaved through the area west of Granbury Road and north of South Drive, ending at the Tom Thumb Shopping Center on South Hulen Street. Donors were encouraged to give a specified dollar amount for every kilometer marched.
Spirits were high throughout the entire event, as the band paraded through various neighborhoods in Westcliff, Overton Park and South Hills.
“We’re having fun, marching and dancing,” senior trombonist Dean Del Rio said. “The best part about it is interacting with the community – seeing little kids walk out, and parents taking pictures of us, and hearing us play. Getting our sound around … is a good thing.”
Parents and supporters were there to cheer on the band members as they arrived at the Tom Thumb Shopping Center and performed their fight song to the crowd.
“The parents are a wonderful support system,” band director Bryan Wright said of the volunteers for the event. “They are helping to get the students where they need to be, supporting them on the day of the event, getting them water and snacks, and keeping them hydrated.”
For Wright, it was a huge success – in more ways than one. In the end, band directors, parents, and most importantly, students, put together a momentous experience for the community in the 109.
“It’s a great event where the kids are putting in the time and effort,” Wright said afterwards. “The kids are getting the pledges, and the kids are providing the service, and the event. The kids are earning the money that’s going directly to support their programs. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”