Thursday, January 10, 2013

Asheville City Proclamation honoring AHS Cougar Band to be presented at community send-off fundraiser & concert Sat, Jan. 12

This story starts with my son, Zach. He is a junior at Asheville High and a proud Cougar Varsity football player. In August, at the first home football game, we heard this pre-game announcement:

“Folks, you are now watching the Asheville High Cougar Pride Band … participants in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.” We found out later that the AHS Band would not only be the group representing Asheville; they were going to represent all of North Carolina. They are the only band and color guard from North Carolina who made the cut, who got the invitation.

Back then, when we were still sweating through the last heat of summer, the words didn’t hit home. And then they did. No matter who won the 2012 Presidential election, one thing was for sure … the Asheville High Band would be in Washington, DC in January 2013 for the parade, the galas, everything

The football season went on; the band was always there. Playing the Cougar fight song, win or lose. Football season ended; the election came; and went. Band members and their parents quietly organized fundraisers.

But by mid-December they were still short $10,000. Unfortunately, not all band parents could contribute enough money and they had run out of planned fundraisers. Band Director Will Talley, with all of his band directing and musical talents, was not sure how to get the word out, nor did he have the time. But he was sure of one thing, “I want no band student from Asheville High left behind.”

Jump to Tuesday, January 8, 2013. Following an extensive social media campaign Talley reported, “I’m very, very happy to say we have reached our original lower goal of $85,000 with the help of the social media campaign and community donations that came through on our website via Pay Pal. No student who wants to go will be left behind.”

The last minute flurry of tweets and retweets raised a total of $10,000 in one month. “So, we’ve upped our goal to $90,000 to make sure all costs are truly covered,” Talley said.

You still have time to help with the AHS Band 2013 Inauguration Trip Support Campaign by taking part in one of these events:

1)   AHS Band's Pre-Inaugural Concert and Silent Auction is this Saturday, Jan. 12 at AHS Auditorium on McDowell St. The Silent Auction begins at 1 p.m. and the Concert begins at 3 pm. ( to see a list of items to be auctioned off.) Suggested donation: $10 at the door.  This is a community sendoff!  Be among the first to hear the Band's Parade and Festival Concert music. Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith will present a City Proclamation honoring AHS band, recognizing our Asheville teenagers.

2) “10% Benefit at Nona Mia" today Thursday, Jan. 10 from 4-6pm.  Dine in or order out. Nona Mia will write AHS Band Association a check for 10% of all food & drinks sold tonight during these after-school hours. Nona Mia is located at 1050 Haywood Road in West Asheville.

3)   “20% Benefit at Mela" the popular Indian restaurant in downtown Asheville on Sunday, Jan. 13. Eat lunch or dinner at Mela the day after the Pre-Inaugural Band Concert and Silent Auction, and Mela will write the AHS Band Association a check for 20% of all food and drinks sold that day. Mela is located at 70 N. Lexington Avenue.

4)   Donations are gratefully accepted on the AHS Band's webpage.  Just go to <> and click on the donation button.

*shameless plug: I am a local writer, networker and special events coordinator/fundraiser and downtown Asheville pioneer. (That' means I owned a business in downtown Asheville and promoted the area early on when most people thought I was crazy for doing so. Glad to have proved them wrong.) I'm also really proud of Zach for pushing me to step forward to aid the AHS Band. I am very honored to have been one of many who were able to help them raise $10,000 in one month and nudge City officials to give them the Proclamation. Our teenagers deserve this recognition, and so much more. But that's a tale for another time. Please contact me at if I can be of any assistance to you with your social media/public relations, special event or fundraising campaign

Wednesday, January 9, 2013