FHC Band finds an innovative way to fund the program


New band director Laura Zilhaver has switched things up and is bringing a new and dream-worthy fundraiser to the band program.

This year on Dec. 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the band plans to sell mattresses and pillows to the community to raise money for their program. Zilhaver, as well as the Band Boosters, have set up a partnership with a company called Custom Fundraising Solutions, which works with Mattress Firm and other mattress companies to put together the sale.

“I’m not sure how successful [this year] will be,” Zilhaver said. “But [the fundraiser] is one of those things that we can do year after year. And after that tradition is established, people will know what we mean when we’re selling mattresses.”

The idea of the sale mainly stemmed from Zilhaver being given the task of finding a new way to raise money for the band program after a few of the district policies changed. Zilhaver said that, although not necessarily a bad thing, the change does make it a bit more difficult with the band’s trip to Florida coming up soon.

“One of the things I heard from a lot of the parents the first few weeks of school was, “Under this new fundraising policy, how are we going to make this trip affordable for students?'” Zilhaver said. “‘And how are we going to fund things like band camp?a��”

Although not very well-known, Zilhaver explained that selling mattresses has actually been quite successful for music programs in other areas, like Hastings and St. Joseph. Anywhere from 10-20% of the population is in need of a mattress, and with up to 50% off some of the mattresses, pillows, and other products, people in the community can find what they need at a much more affordable price.

The students mostly play the role of advertising the fundraiser and informing the public, but a few also have the opportunity to do a bit more advertising on the day of the sale.

“The students do get the wonderful job of dressing up as a mattress and holding signs,” Zilhaver said. “Some of them are like, “No way am I going to do that,a�� but some of them are pretty excited about it.”

Some of the band members, like senior Kevin Wang, have taken the time on their own to advertise for the fundraiser. Kevin has reached out to family members, neighbors, and people in downtown businesses to spread information about the discounted mattresses.

“[Advertising] is not a sanctioned, band-sponsored activity, but [band members] all got flyers, so we’re all encouraged to go out and hand them out,” said Kevin, the trumpet section leader.

People in the community who are referred by a band member will also be given an extra $50 off their purchase. While the mattresses and other products are heavily discounted, the band program will be getting between $75 and $100 per mattress sold.

Zilhaver hopes to raise between $3,000 and $5,000 to help cover some of the expenses for the band’s Florida trip, band camp, as well the smaller things like instrument repairs; although, it won’t be until next year that Zilhaver will have the room to include new things in the band’s budget.

“The booster organization created a budget last year for all of the things we want to do this year,” Zilhaver said. “That budget was made under the direction of the previous band director, and, in some ways, my hands are tied as to what we can do this year.”

Many students in the band are looking forward to the activities that the money from the fundraiser will help cover. Senior Grace Cool expressed her excitement for the trip to Florida and hopes the fundraiser sells enough mattresses to cover some of the expenses.

“I’ve never been [on the Disney trip]; it’s the first year that I’ve gone,” said Grace, a field commander. “We do it once every couple of years.”

Next year, Zilhaver hopes that the fundraiser can be even more successful so the band program can include more things in their budget like clinicians and new percussion instruments that are usually purchased by the school; however, this year she is focusing on the students and what is important to them.

“Really, this year, I’m learning the important traditions for the students here and kind of seeing where we’re at as a band program,” Zilhaver said. “Then, next year is when I can say, “Here are some things that I’d like to implement that are new.a��”