Band boosters to host spaghetti dinner Feb. 23

DOWAGIAC — Next month, members of the Dowagiac Union Schools Band will take up their instruments in the Dowagiac Middle School cafeteria to provide community members with a dinner and a show.

The Dowagiac Band Boosters will host its annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Dowagiac Middle School, 57072 Riverside Dr., Dowagiac. Tickets are $7. Children 5 and under may attend free of charge. Tickets can be bought by any band student starting Feb. 4 or be purchased at the door on the night of the event.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” said band director Shane Oakley. “It’s where the band boosters get the majority of our funding.”

In addition to a spaghetti dinner, the event will feature live performances by the district’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade bands and the high school concert and jazz bands. Students who will be performing in the upcoming solo and ensemble event will also play throughout the evening. There will also be a silent auction and raffle at the event.

“It’s dinner and music — an evening of music,” Oakley said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to come out and hear new music from the band, and it’s just a very relaxed, fun evening.”

This year, Oakley said he and the band boosters are hoping to raise $7,000 from the spaghetti dinner. The money will be used for marching band, concession stand, travel, band camp and award expenses.

As both an educator who has seen students go through the band program and as a former band student himself, Oakley said he knows first-hand the way that participating in the band can benefit a student. Because of this, Oakley said he believes it is important to support local band programs through fundraisers like the spaghetti dinner.

“I think it is important because we are doing more than just playing music here,” he said. “Part of my philosophy is that we are building character. We are learning time management skills, and we are just building the general character of students.”

Oakley said he would encourage the community to attend the fundraiser, as it will give community members the opportunity to support local band students personally.

“I love how the community here always says that the band is the sound of the community,” Oakley said. “They have been nothing but supportive, and this is just another way to come out and support the band program and ensure that the program does have the finances to continue thriving and providing the community with music each and every year.”

Currently, the band is seeking food donations for the dinner. To learn more or to donate, contact Oakley at (269) 782-4440 ext. 1127 or at soakley@dowagiacschools.org. 

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