Sounds of toe-tapping jazz and symphonic smoothness could be heard from the Enid High School Big Blue Band at Enid Event Center on Thursday.

The band hosted a free spring concert to raise money for its upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., where it will represent the state in the 2016 National Memorial Day Parade in the nation’s capital on May 30.

Thom Bushman, president of Enid High Big Blue Band Booster Club, said there will be 162 students, plus sponsors, on the trip.

The trip will cost $1,000 per student, which includes transportation — driving 18 hours in motor coaches — sightseeing, lodging and some meals, although students will be responsible for some of their own meals.

Or at least they were going to be responsible for their own meals.

No April Fool’s joke, Bushman announced Thursday the booster club helped raise $20,000 to cover the cost of student meals.

“We felt like we needed to ramp up our efforts,” Bushman said. “The budgets in statewide education have been very tight.”

Bushman met with several community leaders, including Kegan Tuohy with NBC Bank. Bushman said Tuohy approached Bushman with several ideas.

“Asking for full sponsorship is a generic approach,” Bushman said. “These kids have been working all year long — selling Blue and Gold sausage, hosting car washes, selling mattresses — you name it. We realized the kids would have to buy 10 meals on the trip. At about $12.50 per meal, that’s about $2,000.”

Bushman recognized those who donated to pay for meals, including: Security National Bank, NBC Bank, Central National Bank, Park Avenue Thrift, Central Christian Church, Enid Public Schools, Enid Public Schools Athletic Department and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center. Jumbo Foods and the Blevins family will provide drinks and snacks for the trip.

“But, fundraising continues,” Bushman said. “These funds don’t only pay for trips, but they pay for uniform upkeep, contest marching events and new instruments. This year the band has 178 students. Next year it will have 210.”

Bushman did not have an updated total of funds raised for the trip, except that fundraising will continue to be an ongoing effort.

The group will take bus and walking tours of the nation’s capital, visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, see the Lincoln, Korean, Martin Luther King Jr. and Vietnam memorials, tour Arlington National Cemetery and Smithsonian In­­stitution Museum before performing in the parade.

The wind ensemble, symphonic band and jazz bands all performed. Admission was free but donations were welcomed to fund the group’s trip.

All donations are tax deductible and can be sent to the EHS Big Blue Band Booster Club, 610 S. Cleveland St., PBM# 437, Enid, OK 73703. 

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