Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins, right, talks with Dobyns-Bennett Band Director Lafe Cook during an informal breakfast Friday. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — So far, the Dobyns-Bennett High School Marching Indian Band has enough money to get to South Dakota in late December.
The problem is, it needs to be in Pasadena, Calif., for the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade Jan. 1.
That’s why Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins has been in Kingsport this week helping the D-B band raise money for its trip to march in the Rose Parade Jan. 1.
The band is one of 12 high school units chosen for the parade and among 20 overall. One hundred high school applications for coveted spots in the parade were narrowed to 35, and then the winning 12. D-B also made the cut in 2002 and 2007. The parade has a rule that a band can’t make a return appearance more often than every four years.
“We travel around the country this year,” said Jenkins, president a chairman of the Tournament of Roses board for 2013-14. The visits are to promote the local bands and assist in fundraising for them.
“We don’t want to leave them in South Dakota,” Jenkins said.
He was referring to the “Sponsor a Mile” campaign to raise enough money to get the band to and from California.
Donations can be made at www.dbband.org by following the links to the fundraising program. PayPal is accepted, and a donation of $20 will cover a mile.
The band will have other fundraisers throughout the year, including the current selling of band discount cards and later fruit sales.
Jenkins, who has been involved with the Tournament of Roses for 32 years, said he has visited Midland and Odessa, Texas, home of “Friday Night Lights,” and the affluent Carmel, Ind., area but that he feels comfortable in Kingsport. He said the band and football programs here are a good size but retain a hometown feel and have a good history.
“It was fun to be here for the first football game,” Jenkins said after attending breakfast Friday morning to meet community supporters. Friday night, he attended the gala at the MeadowView Conference, Resort and Convention Center, where D-B Band Director Lafe Cook said he hoped $45,000 would be raised toward the trip from the gala tickets, corporate sponsorships, silent auction and live auction.
Jenkins said he was especially impressed with efforts to provide scholarship assistance to students who otherwise couldn’t afford the trip.
The cost per student for the six-day trip, including charter airfare from and to Tri-Cities Regional Airport, hotel accommodations and most meals, is $1,700 per student.
On a past Rose Parade trip, he said the band tried to fly commercial flights but ended up with members arriving on multiple planes at multiple times.
As for now, Cook said 600 people, including 330 performing students, are slated to make the trip, but he said he hopes more money will be raised so more students can go.
“The sole purpose of that (gala fundraising) money is to use as scholarship funds for underprivileged students,” Cook said.
Aside from the parade and the football game, Jenkins said activities include a band fest, in which D-B will participate, and a post-parade showcase of floats. Also, the BCS championship game will be played at the Rose Bowl Jan. 6.
The parade will be televised worldwide, including U.S. showings on NBC, ABC and HGTV. Viewership is estimated at 800,000 along the parade route and almost 57 million U.S. TV viewers, Jenkins said, with an estimated worldwide audience of about 350 million.
KCS Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said the KCS vision of a “Student Focused ... World Class” school system is embodied by things like the D-B band being picked for the Rose Parade three times. The group also has been in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and was in the second inaugural parade of President Barack Obama.
“The D-B (band) program is world-class and will be seen by 350 million people,” Ailshie said.
Ailshie also thanked the school board, city leaders — who helped fund the purchase of new school uniforms beyond the normal budget — and the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce for supporting the band.
He also said the leadership of Cook has been crucial to the band program’s success during the years.
“There’s no doubt you’re going to get them all the way to California,” Ailshie said to Cook.