Marching band raises $3,400 for Waukegan marching band


Megan Lenzi

The LHS section cup is awarded to the band section that won the change drive during their summer band camp.

During the last week of July, the LHS band fundraised $3,400 through their annual change drive to donate to the Waukegan High School marching band. 

The annual change drive occurred during the week-long summer camp that band attends every year. Each day during the drive, the students bring in a different type of coin, ending on Friday with dollar bills. 

“Monday is pennies, Tuesday nickels, Wednesday dimes and Thursday quarters,” explained drum major Katie Olson, a senior. 

The band’s 123 marchers are split into sections to compete. These sections include low brass, flutes, percussion and more. This year, the flutes were the winners of the drive, bringing in the most total money, but the low brass section brought in the most money per person. 

“Our students are really good about getting their section excited about the drive,” said Mr. Adam Gohr, one of the band directors. 

Over the week, the band competes to earn section points in an attempt to win the section cup at the end of the week. The cup was made years ago by a former marching band student. Along with the cup, the winning section gets bragging rights for the year. 

“The flutes are the biggest section, so they tend to win a lot,” said Olson. 

 Gohr brought the idea to fundraise for the Waukegan band in 2013 when he came to LHS after working at Mundelein High School. He said the motivation for doing so was to give back to the local community and include music in some way.

The drive is almost all student-organized. The band’s social committee, comprised of seniors Emily Waddick, Ava Szatmary and Albert Sterner, and junior Nick Anderson, were given a list of organizations that the band has previously worked with and some new organizations that they then picked from. 

This year, the committee chose to donate their money to Bravo Waukegan, an organization that gives to all of the Waukegan schools. Bravo Waukegan decided that the money would go to the Waukegan High School marching band, as LHS wanted to donate to something music-related. 

“It feels more personal when it’s local and you can see how it’s going to affect those people,” said Mr. Gohr. 

Following the fundraiser, the LHS band invited Mike Kennedy, the Waukegan band director, and two of their drum majors, Lorin Kidwell and Brandon Carranza, to accept the check for $3,400. 

The Waukegan marching band plans on using the money for new mellophones as well as an overnight trip to Oblong, Illinois, for their final marching band competition of the year. 

 “One of the things that many of us are looking forward to the most are new mellophones; the mellophones that members in our ensemble play on are about 40 years old, so they are a little worn, to say the least,” said Lorin Kidwell, a senior. 

Both Olson and junior Chad Matulenko expressed that it was a good experience to talk with Carranza and Kidwell, to see the differences of the school’s bands. 

“It’s really just getting to talk with people that love music and have a passion for music and want their bands to do well,” said Matulenko.

The Waukegan marching band is grateful for the donation and it has already inspired them. 

“Many people who play those instruments are excited for what’s to come. Not only those horn players but also everyone in the band is excited for the upcoming year,” says Carnazza over email.