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Middle school band rocking to raise funds for instruments

POSTED: February 2, 2009 11:10 p.m.
/For The Times

Jon Cotton, Jefferson Middle School band director, leads sixth-grade students through a rehearsal. Students hope to raise $6,000 for the music department through a fundraiser Friday.

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Music students at Jefferson Middle School are planning to rock their hearts out on Friday, but it’s not in the way that you think.

They won’t be singing any songs or playing any instruments, instead they will rocking out in something that you might see your grandma sitting in — rocking chairs. From 5 until 9 p.m., dozens of Jefferson students will be rocking in an effort to raise funds for the choral and band departments.

"It’s going to be a really fun, party atmosphere," said Jon Cotton, Jefferson Middle band director. "We’re encouraging the kids to bring books, iPods, video games and anything else to keep them entertained. The only stipulation is that they have to do everything while rocking in a rocking chair."

The way the Rock-A-Thon works, students seek out sponsors to either make a general donation or to pledge a specific dollar amount for each hour they rock.

So far, Cotton says about 45 students have signed up to participate in the Rock-A-Thon, but he hopes that builds to at least 60 before Friday.

"The big kicker is that in order to come, each student must raise at least $50," Cotton said.

"To a student that may seem like a tremendous amount of money, but I explain it like this: ‘If you can get five people from your church or family to donate $10 to our music department, then raising $50 is totally achievable.’ Most of our participants usually raise more than $50."

In addition to helping their school, students also have other incentives to participate, like a cash prize for the students who raise the most money.

This is the fourth year the music department has held the Rock-A-Thon. Cotton says one of the benefits of having this type of fundraiser is that all proceeds go straight to the music department.

"Usually we raise around $4,000, but this year we’re trying to raise $6,000," Cotton said. "The band is going to use their money to help purchase new instruments, a new tuba and a timpani. The choral department is hoping to purchase a new piano and music for the students to sing."


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