Whitehouse High School band salutes our heroes

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With the Whitehouse High School band set to leave for Washington DC on May 28, Director of Bands Denny Whitley says he is as excited as ever to take his students to the nation’s capital.

When the band plays at the World War II Memorial on May 30, they will proudly perform several of the pieces from their marching season which reflected a patriotic theme. They will also have a beautiful banner bearing the names of veterans being honored by family and friends from back home.

Whitley borrowed the idea from the Hallsville band that did something similar the year they played at Pearl Harbor. It was a fund-raiser but also done to commemorate the trip.

“It couldn’t come at a better time,” Whitley said. “We will be presenting a concert at the WWII Memorial.”

Here is how it works. Your gift of $25 will honor your veteran with their name printed on the special banner. A gift of $50 will include a tee shirt which will have the name of your honored loved one imprinted on the back.

The banner will also be prominently displayed in a souvenir photo taken on location as the Wildcat Band plays at the memorial.

Larger sponsorship opportunities are also available to help fund the transportation of this and many other trips made throughout the band program in Whitehouse ISD.

Each person going pays $600 to cover other costs such as lodging, meals, entry tickets and other pieces to this huge puzzle. Whitley says this year’s trip will see 350 students and parent chaperones load up seven chartered buses. That is not a cheap ride.

The Whitehouse Band Booster Club is typically able to foot the entire bill for the transportation costs but less concession income has left them a bit short. They are hoping for the community’s help.

“For some of these students, this will be the trip of a lifetime and I hate the thought of one of them having to miss out because of money alone,” booster club board member Jim Nipp said. “For the past couple of trips, we’ve been able to cover the $10,000 - $14,000 cost for these kids by just stating the need. This year, we’re struggling to get the money raised in time.” 

Raising money to fund this project is great but seeing these students learn more about those who served and are serving in the military is priceless.

“For the Whitehouse Band Boosters, the Salute to our Heroes sponsorship is not just about having another fundraiser,” booster club president Scott Eeds said. “It is about truly honoring those men and women that stand up for our right to live in a free country. It is about showing the band students and the community that what they take for granted on a daily basis has to be paid for by the service, and sometimes lives, of the men and women of the armed forces. With that said, it is a fundraiser that will allow us to travel to Washington DC and to perform at the WW II memorial and to visit Arlington Cemetery where the students truly grasp the sacrifices that so many men and women have given for the freedoms we have in the country.” 

The club is hoping for at least a dozen more sponsorship donors at the $1200-$600 level. Four local businesses have already stepped up to the plate with their pledges. They are The Genesis Group, Whitehouse Family Dentistry, Creative Ceramics/Fireworks and Wildcat Grub.

On their trek the band will travel to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the grave of Sgt. Nelson D. Trent who died in 2012 while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Trent was a 1993 graduate of Whitehouse High School.

When the band traveled to Washington DC four years ago they were honored to play before three bus-loads of veterans at the WWII Memorial.

“Those kids loved them and they loved them back,” Whitley said. “They were asking for their autographs and snapping pictures. When we got back to the buses I was chewing on them a little. I told them that it was wonderful how they treated these veterans but there were veterans in their lives every day that go unappreciated. You go to church with them. They are your neighbors and friends. And they didn’t realize that.”

There was a special message that Whitley received just this week. Brookshire Grocery Company is again planning a veterans’ trip to Washington DC during the same time that the band will be there. It is being arranged so that these local veterans will be present for the band’s concert at the WWII Memorial.

To honor your veteran complete the form at http://whitehousebandboosters.com/veterans/. Payments can be made with Visa/MC/Discover/Amex, or you can log in and pay with PayPal.

You can sponsor at the Platinum level ($1200 – pays for two students), Gold ($600 – pays for one student), Silver ($300 – pays half of a student’s cost) or a sponsorship level called “Friend of the Band” ($100).  To sign up for these sponsorship opportunities contact Nipp at jim.nipp@genesisworld.com.

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