Dowagiac Band Boosters to host annual fundraiser

DOWAGIAC — As of Monday morning, the Dowagiac Union Schools’ band room office was littered with bags full of donated boxes of spaghetti noodles. This weekend, those ingredients will be cooked up to support local band students.

“It’s always a bit hectic this time of year,” said Shane Oakley, band director. “We are getting everything ready.”

The Dowagiac Band Boosters will host its annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Dowagiac Middle School, 57072 Riverside Dr., Dowagiac. The event will feature a spaghetti dinner, a silent auction, a raffle and the sale of band merchandise. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children 10 and under.

In addition to the meal, the Dowagiac Union School District bands will perform throughout the evening.

“It’s a night of dinner and a show, as I like to call it,” Oakley said. “We are providing food and entertainment and showcasing all of the students. All the students perform, which I think really helps [the dinner] be successful.”

The annual event is the biggest fundraiser for the Dowagiac Band Boosters throughout the year. Proceeds go towards band needs, such as competition fees, scholarships, equipment and more. This year, event organizers are hoping to raise $7,000.

“This money will basically go toward anything we need for the marching season,” Oakley said. “We also use it to make sure we always have money in our scholarship.”

Though the band program does receive district funding, Oakley said it would not be possible for students to get the same experience without help from community fundraisers such as the spaghetti dinner.

“This event is important because it provides the majority of the funding for our band boosters, which is the majority of the funding for our band program,” he said. “The support of this event and the boosters really does support the future of the band for years to come, or at least the next school year.”

Last year was Oakley’s first attending the spaghetti dinner as the band director. At the time, he said he was amazed at the support the community provided for both the event and the band program itself. This year, Oakley is hoping for a repeat.

“Put [the dinner] on your calendars,” he said. “Come out and support the band. It will be a fun event and a great time.”

The following bands will play at the following times Saturday evening:

• Sixth-grade band — 4:30 p.m.

• Seventh-grade band — 5:15 p.m.

• Eighth-grade band — 6 p.m.

• High school concert band — 6:45 p.m.

• Jazz band — 7:30 p.m.

• High school solo and ensemble participants will perform in between band performances throughout the evening.

Currently, event organizers are seeking volunteers for the night of the event and donations of food items, such as cooked ground beef.

For more information or to donate or volunteer during the event, contact Oakley at soakley@dowagiacschools.org.