Pride of the Island
Smoky Oak, JICHS Band come together for homecoming fundraising effort
No high school homecoming is complete without the pageantry and pride served up note by note by the high school band. The beating drums, the brass, the thumping rhythm, the sounds of a school marching band is the subtle musical backdrop of one’s high school years. A high school band has needs, however, principally the money it needs to equip, train and transport what is typically more than 50 band members to various events. The James Island Charter High School ‘Pride of the Island’ marching band is no different. The group has enjoyed a series of successes competing in events throughout the state in recent years, yet still faces the yearly challenge of raising the funds necessary to keep the band going. This year, however, the JICHS marching band is getting a boost in the form a fundraiser coordinated by Smoky Oak Taproom co-owner Rick Agius which Smoky Oak will be serving up hot plates of barbeque for JICHS’ homecoming game. The plates will cost $10 will all proceeds going to the JICHS marching band. Agius’ goal is to sell 1,000 plates and raise $10,000 for the band.
“I try give back to the community … I give back to James Island as much as I can. Every time we’ve done something to try to raise money for something it’s been big,” says Agius. “I wanted to do something for the school because hopefully, someday, my son will go to that school.
“I said to myself ‘I know not everyone here in town is going to be able to give $100 to every kid,’ and I know I could raise five or ten thousand dollars, I know I could,” he continues. “My customers and the community of James Island support me and they always come through, always. James Island people love James Island people … and we take care of each other.”
“We’d like to make it an annual event, because it is homecoming and people show up,” continues Agius.
JICHS marching band parent Freddie Ackerman, who is deeply involved with the band’s official booster club, the Band Backers Association, believes he speaks for all involved in his praise for Agius’ willingness to spend his time, money and people on the event.
“I’m really impressed with Rick and his organization to have given us an opportunity to help ourselves and try to raise some money. You can’t beat the people of community up all the time, but when a business steps forward and says, ‘look, I want to help you guys because the community has given me so much,’ I was shocked. I’ve never had a business do that before.”
The ‘Pride of the Island’ marching band is nearly sixty strong, and operates on an annual budget of just over $70,000. More than half of that money is raised annually by parents, the students themselves, and the Band Backers Association. Never in the group’s history have they had this kind of corporate partnership.
“We really try to get the parents involved with the students. We have several parents like ourselves who do things, and some parents do even more than that, some are out there every afternoon. This is really going to ease the demands put on the parents, who have to go out every weekend and try to raise funds for the band,” says Ackerman.
For more information on the JICHS ‘Pride of the Island’ marching band or to make a donation, see the band’s website at www.jichsband.com. For more information on Smoky Oak Taproom, see www.smokyoaktaproom.com.