LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Pride of Acadiana Marching Band is making a final push to raise the last $60,000 needed to cover expenses for a trip to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
“We have about 50 students who are having difficulty raising some or all of the money,” band director Brian Taylor said. “I’m hoping enough kind people come along so that we don’t have to tell some kids that they can’t go.”
Donors will be paired with a student who benefited from their generosity, and in turn, the student will keep the donor posted about pre-trip events and offer a first-hand account of the experience upon the band’s return, Taylor said.
“It’s not just writing a check,” Taylor said. “They’ll get to know about the effect that donation had on the student.”
Of the band’s 275 members, 242 of them plan to make the trip, he said. Those who opted not to join the band for its Nov. 22 parade appearance had various personal reasons unrelated to financial constraints, Taylor said.
Because the band performs at a Nov. 17 football game at Cajun Field and needs to return to Lafayette in time for the Ragin’ Cajuns’ Nov. 24 game with South Alabama, members opted to charter a Boeing 767 jet airliner for the trip. Donations will be used to pay the $16,000 fuel surcharge bill the band recently received, Taylor said.
Band members have already raised more than $300,000 through the sale of Pride of Acadiana Marching Band apparel, the Adopt a Band Member campaign and from business contributions. But some students still need help, Taylor said.
Each student was asked to come up with $1,500 with half of that going toward airfare. The remainder will be used to cover meals, lodging and transportation by bus.
“Some kids owe as little as $250,” Taylor said. “I’m pushing as hard as I can to get all of them to go.”
The band is one of only 10 marching bands selected to appear in the parade. It’s the second time that the band has been selected for the event. In 2005, the band made its first appearance in the nationally televised parade and also was invited to perform on NBC’s “Today Show” prior to the parade that year.
During the trip, the band is scheduled to perform on the USS Intrepid, a World War II aircraft carrier at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
Along the two-mile parade route, the band will perform Christmas, Cajun and zydeco tunes and plans to perform “Let the Good Times Roll” in Herald Square.
To make a donation, call Taylor at (337) 482-5157 or visit http://tinyurl.com/ulbandtomacys-com.