Businesses help Andrews marching band raise money

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- On most afternoons, you can find the TW Andrews "Red Raiders" marching band hard at work, practicing either in the school's cafeteria or in the gym.

But every once in a while, you can find them on Eastchester Drive in the parking lot outside of Modern Home, a furniture store.

"I turn my music off in the store just to hear them play," Modern Home store manager Valerie Bercian said.

For the past few months on Saturdays mornings, the band lines up outside the store, playing for one to two hours.

"Some cars honk their horn going by because they're supporting them," Bercian said.

Modern Home is one of several businesses helping the band raise money.

"We go out, we ask for donations," said Cyril Jefferson, assistant band director.

Jefferson says other local businesses have pitched in too, sponsoring meals and other expenses many band members can't afford.

“Potentially below the poverty line as far as income,” Jefferson said. “At one point, our school was 100 percent free or reduced lunch for our students.”

Jefferson says they're raising money to travel to more than half a dozen competitions from now through November.

Last year, they won the high stepping national and state marching band championships.

It’s a huge accomplishment for the band despite their lack of resources.

Jefferson says most of their instruments are about 20 years old.

"Some of them are taped up to keep leaks from happening,” he said. “Some are taped up just to keep the instrument together."

Students say the show of community support is about more than money.

"It just makes us feel as if the community really cares about us and really wants to see us do well," said Clinton Graham, a member of the band.

The band will play outside the business again Saturday, March 25.

They're hoping some of the money raised so far will help them go to the Battle of the Bands competition In April in Richmond, Virginia.