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Vashon High heads to Disneyland, despite low fund-raising numbers

Fifty-two members of the Vashon High School band will travel on a tour of Southern California in February, to stops including Disneyland, Hollywood and a children’s hospital.

Despite dismal fundraising numbers, all but four band members who’d hoped to go on the excursion were able to register for the trip.

The band fervently fundraised this fall, holding car washes, rummage sales and selling fire starters and ornaments to offset the $1,249 cost per student for the five-day trip.

But they fell far short of their monetary goals, said band teacher Ken Quehrn. None of the students were able to raise more than $200; the “Need-a-Hand” program, where Islanders could hire the band for tasks in the house and yard, fell $10,000 short of what Quehrn had hoped it would net, only pulling in about $1,000.

“Our fundraisers haven’t been as successful as we would have liked,” Quehrn said. “Times are hard, and there just isn’t a lot of extra money floating around. People have been very generous with what they have been able to give.”

About 95 percent of the trip costs are coming out of parents’ and students’ pockets, and an additional expense was just tacked on to the total: The band learned this month that each member will need to pay $50 for black uniform pants and shoes to be able to march down Main Street in Disneyland, an expense the band is still fundraising to offset.

It will be one of the first times the band has marched in recent memory, save for its performance at Straw-berry Festival this year.

“It’s been very hard for some families to come up with the money,” said Sharon Hook, treasurer of Band of Pirates Supporters, a parent booster group formed this year for the high school band. “The kids have pulled together — they’ve shown what they can do, and they’re going to have a ball. They should be proud of themselves.”

On the trip, the Pirate band will play at either the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital or a hospital for deaf and blind children, Quehrn said. Playing music for hospitalized children will be an important and gratifying part of the trip, he said.

Quehrn, a longtime band teacher, has taken trips to Southern California with his bands from other schools, and always made a stop at a children’s hospital.

“It’s always the most difficult performance, but always the most rewarding and most memorable,” he said. “There have been times where it was hard to be around the patients, but always their insurmountable spirit and love for life flows, and you can’t help but be inspired.”

The band is still fundraising to offset the cost of marching uniforms. Collection tins are set up at Bank of America, Vashon Pharmacy, La Playa, Constantinople, Essentials 4 and the Brown Agency.

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