College Bands March for St. Jude

When college bands perform at halftime, they have thousands of eyes and ears with them—and this past fall, four bands used that attention to raise funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the Marching for St. Jude program.

Clemson (South Carolina) University, the University of Houston (Texas), James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, each dedicated one of their halftime shows to the cause. Students then raised funds from friends and family using personal fundraising websites. Together, the four bands raised nearly $50,000 for the cause.

“The Clemson Tiger Band is committed to serving our community and the greater good, and we are grateful to have the local support to take on charitable causes,” says Dr. Mark Spede, director of the Clemson Tiger Band.

Depending on university and athletic department policies, some bands were able to make announcements or show a message on the jumbotron during their performances, so that fans could be directed to a website to contribute. In some cases, a St. Jude patient and family members were honored on the field at halftime.

“The Marching Virginians and other university bands are proud to support this work in our own unique manner,” says Dave McKee, band director at Virginia Tech.

This year is the first time that Marching for Hope, a program of charitable events organizer Ocean 2 Ocean Productions, has worked with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is known for “leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.” Fundraisers help ensure that families don’t need to pay for food, travel, or accommodations while their children are treated at St. Jude, located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Visit www.stjude.org/get-involved/find-an-event/marching-bands.html for more information.—EG

About the author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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