Dance party to benefit AMS band

Jerry Attrick & the Pacemakers, an Ashland band specializing in an eclectic mix of classic dance tunes, will play at the Standing Stone Brewing Co. on Saturday, Dec. 13, starting at 8:30 p.m., in a benefit dance party for the Ashland Middle School Band program. Proceeds support the AMS Band program for instrument repairs, rentals, and student scholarships.

Declining enrollment in the Ashland Schools brings budget cuts for many school programs, including the middle school band program, even though enrollment in band has increased from last year, to 160 students, according to AMS Band Director Jenifer Carstensen.

"We are so lucky to live in a community that supports the arts and education," Carstensen said. "The students are working hard to raise money for their band too, selling See's candy and playing in front of grocery stores for donations that will help us continue to provide a top quality band program for all of our students. I've had to make cuts this year, but on the plus side I've got an exceptionally hard-working group of students in all three bands."

The AMS Concert Band took first place at the OSU Middle School Band Festival last spring, in a competition with 34 Oregon middle school bands. The band also performs in the annual Festival of Light, Pear Blossom and Fourth of July parades.

A strong band program has many needs, Carstensen said, pointing out that an increasing number of students rent school instruments, and some need help paying for their rental. Few of the instruments are new, and aging instruments need more frequent maintenance and repair, a major expense for any band program, she said. Many eligible students need scholarships to participate in the OSU Festival or in an honor band for which they've been selected.

Jerry Attrick & the Pacemakers members include Dave Young on guitar and vocals, Tom Freeman on percussion, Dennis Freese on woodwinds and vocals, Tim Church on guitar and vocals and Tom Frederick on bass. Three members of the group have children who are now or previously were in the AMS band program. They also work as mentors for band members at AMS.

"The AMS band is the envy of middle schools throughout Oregon," said band leader David Young. "To maintain such an excellent program, especially in the present era of declining enrollments and revenues for education, communities must step forward to help in an ever-increasing way. This dance party is a fun and easy way to infuse some much-needed cash so that every band student can have an instrument that works properly."

The cover charge is $10. For more information call 482-2448.

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