HAZARD—Summer band camp—the memories, pop culture references, and stories associated with those words are so numerous it would take a whole summer just to get through half of them. One local high school teacher has gone to unconventional lengths this year to ensure his students will be able to add to those memories and stories this summer.
Trevor Grieb, math teacher at Perry County Central High School (PCC) and PCC band director, knew that the only way to make his band into anything more than a pep band would be to host a marching band camp for the students.
“The last time they had a band camp was five years ago, I believe,” Grieb said.
Grieb said he was unsure of the exact reason behind the band camp hiatus, but knew that a tight school district budget, leading to a lack of funding, had obviously contributed.
This lack of funding made making any band camp plans come to fruition nearly impossible, he said.
“I knew I didn’t want the kids to have to pay more than $100 to go to band camp,” Grieb said, adding that the cost of a four-day, three-night camp would be anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 for all 25 band students. “We got a little funding from the school, because they were generous enough to do that, and then the rest of the funding, I thought Donors Choose would be the perfect way to go.”
Donors Choose, Grieb explained, is a website that lets teachers fundraise online for anything they might need for their classroom.
“It allows teachers to post projects that they’re working on, physical things that they need or trips that they’re going to take or speakers that they want to bring in, and kind of crowd source the funding,” he said.
Grieb said on Thursday that the band camp project had only been posted for three days and already half of the $1,200 in donations needed had been received.
“I usually will post on my Facebook, I sent around an email campaign for it… and there’s also this really cool thing where they can enter a code and it matches, some company will match their donation to the project up to like $100,” he said. “That’s been really cool and that’s making it go a lot faster.”
Thanks to the Donors Choose donations, Grieb’s band students will only need to come up with $75 in order to go to band camp this summer, something he said is imperative to having a cohesive and successful marching band.
“I think it’s incredibly important, because … they have to bond and be a family when they get on the field and when they go into these long, long practices—and I firmly believe the only way to do that is to remove them from school and take them somewhere else, preferably overnight, so that they have that kind of family feeling to them,” Grieb said.
The camp also allows for cram sessions, Grieb said, to get in as much practice as possible for the band’s halftime show.
“Trying to learn a halftime show is a gigantic project, and doing it for that long straight is really helpful,” he said.
Grieb said it’s obvious just from going on DonorsChoose.org that this resource is being underused in the region.
“I posted ours and … they gave me within a 50 mile radius of Hazard, Ky., how many projects there are and there were like three. So, there’s aren’t very many here; in urban centers they do a lot of them, but not here,” he said.
Grieb said he hopes this band camp kickstarter will also be a kickstarter to bringing the PCC band back into the limelight.
“With the students that we have here with the talent that they have and the number of students we have, we can be that good again, it’s just going to take a lot, a lot of work, and this is the first step towards that,” he said.
Anyone interested in donating can go to DonorsChoose.org and search for the 41701 ZIP code in the “projects near me” search bar. Grieb’s band camp project is titled “Perry County Central High School 2014 Band Camp.”
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald