PHS Band Boosters sacrifice time, effort
Ed Cates has been to every Parkway High School home football game this season but has yet to watch a complete game.
That’s because he and dozens of others like him are members of the Band Boosters, a multi-faceted group that does everything from operating the concession stands at home games to providing more than a dozen chaperones for all home and away games.
Cates, who has been a Band Booster for six years, has a son who was in the band but has graduated. Rather than leaving the group, Cates has chosen to remain involved and can be seen before home games grilling burgers that will be sold at the concession stands.
From his post, he can see the scoreboard and usually is able to watch the second half of home games. He doesn’t mind only seeing part of the game, noting that the Band Boosters typically are parents of a band member and therefore are usually more interested in seeing the band perform than the football team play.
“It’s all about the kids, the friends you make and the times you have together,” Cates said.
Perry Pagan, president of the Band Boosters, said the group has two major fundraising activities, operating the concession stands for all home football games and a year-round Bingo operation at Veteran’s Hall every Tuesday.
Concession stand sales vary greatly by game attendance. A typical game, however, results in the sale of 100 hamburgers, 200 hot dogs, 18-20 pizzas, 40-50 cases of soft drinks, and 8-10 cases of candy. All of the food and drinks are paid for up front by the Band Boosters, which sells them at home games. Chicken Express donates ice tea to the group.
Typically the food is bought or ordered on Tuesday, the concession stand is prepped on Thursday evening, and late afternoon on Friday concession workers start preparing food. No food is sold before 6 p.m., which allows other groups to sell food for their fundraisers.
Band Boosters also power wash the bleachers on Thursdays and paint the stripes on the field.
“Band Boosters is a hardworking group,” Pagan said. “They are great people. Every person has something to offer.”
He said the group tries to use the special skills different members have, whether it is welding or healthcare.
About 10 concession workers man each of the two concession stands every home game, but there are other volunteer slots for every game, both home and away.
Seven buses are used to transport the 182 band members, and two chaperones are assigned per bus. Chaperones also deliver water to band members during the game so they can continue their performance.
Band instruments are transported in two large trailers driven by Band Boosters; since the home games are not played on the new Parkway High campus, the trailers must be driven to both home and away games.
Other volunteers help band members with putting on their uniforms.
The bingo operation is regulated by the state.
It operates every Tuesday night, which this year includes both Christmas and New Years.
Pagan said the Bingo operation is the largest fundraiser with the concession stand profits much less.
He noted operating a band and band activities is an expensive venture whose costs are covered by a combination of the school district, students and Band Boosters.
Band uniforms are typically provided by the school district every 10 years. Students generally are required to provide their own instruments, except the Band Boosters pay for some of the most expensive instruments.
Students pay band fees that help defray some costs but there are other costs that are typically paid for by Band Boosters.
Whenever the band travels for a competition, for example, seven buses must be chartered, everyone needs meals and hotel rooms are needed for students and chaperones alike. Spreading the cost among the school district, students and the Band Boosters makes such trips financially feasible.
The band, Pagan said, is very appreciative of what the Band Boosters do.
And because people like Ed Cates, concession workers and chaperones are so involved in providing essential services, the band reciprocates.
“The band puts on a post-game performance just for concession workers and chaperones,” Pagan said.