By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — The band boosters at Wake Forest High have a problem. It costs a small fortune for band programs in any given year.
So they came upon a unique solution — raise $1,500-plus by hosting a rock concert for teens.
The show, to be held Friday, July 29 at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, is called Bands for the Band. Two teen groups with a following, Karma, and URMom, will open the show.
The headliner is Brett Harris, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Durham featured in Paste Magazine, NPR’s All Songs Considered and several “best of lists.”
“Brett’s a great guy and a good friend,” said Mike Allen, incoming president of the Wake Forest High School band boosters. “He is a big part of the Big Star. Big Star is a (reincarnated) band from Memphis, Tenn. from the early 1970s. They never made it big, but were hugely influential on bands like REM and The Replacements.”
Harris will be playing with a full backup band, and will close out the show. But Allen expects the teens to be a bigger draw, as they’ve got fans from Wake Forest and Raleigh.
“I’m fairly tied into the rock music scene around the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. The idea was to get local bands to play,” said Allen. “Joey DeMattos, who in marching band at Wake Forest, plays drums for Karma. URMom is an all-girl band based at Heritage High (formed through the Progressive Music Center). They’re getting a lot of notice around Raleigh.”
The event won’t include alcohol sales, but the band boosters will be selling soft drinks, water and snacks and are bringing in the Cut Bait Cafe seafood truck outside.
The show runs 6-10 p.m. The $20 price covers the rental and headliner, a good portion which have been already paid for by sponsors and donations. All additional profits go to the WFHS band program, including marching, concert and jazz bands.
The proceeds will go into their general fund, which is quickly depleted — the band has a never-ending need for equipment, instrument repair, uniform dry cleaning, purchasing music rights, food for band camp, bus rentals for competitions, and so on.
“Right now our immediate need is percussion equipment and a chimes that costs $4,000,” said WFHS band director Joey Tucker. “Over time things break. I’m guessing it’s probably 20 years old.”
They also need another baritone and mellophone.
Tucker has been directing the band for four years. Alternating directors before led to a loss of interest, but now it’s reborn. When Tucker started there were 51 kids in marching band — this year there are 79. More kids means more expenses, though. Band parents have to kick-in $500, which is cheap by Wake County High School band standards, Tucker said.
Some programs ask for $1,200, which is used to pay for extra staffers/teachers and field props such as step stools for color guards.
But some parents can’t afford even the $500, so the band fundraisers help offset that as well, he said.
Tucker said he thinks more kids take band seriously than in the past as well.
“It’s a valuable experience,” he said. “You make a lot of good friends that last you forever.”
The Renaissance Centre is located at 403 Brooks St. in downtown Wake Forest. To order tickets or for more information, see tiny.cc/wfbands. To become a sponsor or contribute to the program, email Mike Allen at email@example.com.