Band director David Jaggie has been teaching and directing at Madison Central High School since 2006. This year will stand out among all the rest, as his band will have the distinct honor of performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He says that only a handful of bands from Kentucky have been invited to participate in this event since it began in 1924.
Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation, in Richmond, recently held a fundraiser to bring the band closer to its goal of sending all 280 students to the parade. Janice Jackson, life enrichment director at Kenwood, hopes the word will spread, helping inspire other individuals and organizations to get involved.
Jackson learned of the band's financial needs through Becky Tuttle and Jennifer Billiter, who both work at Kenwood and are also both "band moms." Tuttle's daughter Tayla and Billiter's son Dalton are members of the Central band this year and plan to attend the group trip to New York this fall.
"It will be a full New York experience," Tuttle added.
"Anytime you can have community outreach, it keeps residents connected to the community," Jackson said.
Many residents of Kenwood have raised children in Madison County and now have grandchildren in the band. Plenty of kids involved will require financial assistance to be able to take part in this year's trip.
"As a staff, we wanted to help," Jackson said.
The lunch fundraiser involved staff, patients, family members and community members, as well as local businesses who donated food, money and time. Kenwood's goal was to raise enough money to cover one band student's trip.
"We never thought it was impossible," said Jackson.
The fundraising event, held on July 30, brought in plenty of people from the community who helped prepare and distribute the food. For $5.50, supporters received a meal with a pulled-pork sandwich, chips, dessert and a drink. Jackson says a visitor from the center's corporate office just happened to come by on the same day of the fundraising lunch. This led to the company's decision to match every dollar raised by the event, bringing the grand total raised to $2,786.25. More than surpassing their goal, this amount covers fees for at least two students' trips.
According to band director David Jaggie, the cost per student attending the trip and parade will be $1,200. That number is before any fundraising has been applied, and his goal as the primary organizer of the trip is to bring the cost per student down to $775 or less.
Last year, Jaggie attended the parade as an observer, learning about the process of leading a band in the Macy's Parade.
"The band we shadowed didn't bring everybody, but for us, that isn't even an option," he said.
Jaggie intends for all 280 band kids to go on this Thanksgiving Day Parade trip.
The same spirit of unity permeates the staff at Kenwood Health and Rehabilitation.
"We are one team, and it was a team effort," emphasized Jackson. "We have done outreach projects for the community before, and this was just one instance of those outreaches."
She says that the rehab center has a lot of youth volunteers, including some who helped with this fundraiser.
Anyone interested in donating or organizing a fundraiser on behalf of the band may contact Madison Central High School.