Fundraising for band department pays off

Khadija Ahmed, Staff Writer

Instead of sleeping in on a Saturday, band students and parent volunteers alike stumbled out of bed to get to school by 8:30 am. Groups started going to neighborhoods within the Annandale High School boundary to ask for donations for the band program at 9:30, but meanwhile students had breakfast and waited for further instructions.

Joseph Witkowski, the band teacher, had high hopes for the amount raised. “This fundraiser is the biggest portion of our booster organization’s budget and we are hoping to raise around 20,000 dollars this weekend,” he asserted.

The band department’s fundraisers remain mostly the same every year, but their approaches are tweaked to reap the best results. Mr. Witkowski says, “Every year, we try to get better at what we do to see what works best. Most of our fundraisers that we do stay the same as far as what they are because they work for us. So year to year, this is just kind of seeing how we can make it better. We keep a lot of data on the different routes and neighborhoods and how they do and just notes on things that we think we’ll try to improve each year.”

Although, perhaps they should start listening to students’ suggestions to improve. Senior Zack Salaah shared his opinion on fundraising, “It’s worth it. It’s kind of boring at some times but we need it.” When prompted on how he would improve the fundraising process he said, “Maybe not go to people’s houses and offer them something in return for their money.” Similarly, junior Maya Champion said, “Personally, I don’t really like it because I feel like a beggar,” and reiterated Zack’s comment suggesting, “I think we should have different ways of getting the money.” On the other hand, freshman Eva Gomez said, “I’m excited. We get to walk around. It’s going to be fun.” But does Eva still feel the same way after experiencing the long hours of fundraising that the upperclassmen already have?

The community has a lot to look forward to from band. The marching band competition show theme is “All We Need Is Love”. This includes different songs about love including Somebody To Love by Queen and Kiss From A Rose by Seal. In addition, the wind ensemble is working on The Second Suite in F by Gustav Holst which Mr. Witkowski praises as a “very important work”.

Along with the music brewing in the band room, many students have set individual goals. Junior Samuel Berhe hopes to become better at the trumpet, and freshman Melissa Miranda said, “My goal would be getting better at flute and probably hoping to get into more advanced stuff.” Junior Maya Champion stated, “I just hope that I become a better person and a player in marching band and band in general.” Lastly, senior Zack Salaah hopes for “some recognition”.

The interviewing of students is halted by Mr. Witkowski’s call for silence and for everyone to take a seat on the floor. He explained the behavior expected like looking people in the eye, smiling, speaking clearly, and giving the same enthusiasm to the 600th door as you gave the first. Mr. Witkowski informed marching band that they will be wearing their uniforms, but will not have to wear their cylinder shaped hats called shakos. Eva can be heard letting out a small sigh of relief.

The fundraiser ended up bringing in $14,332 over two days, and 85 students participated. If you would like to donate to the band program, go to It is also acceptable to deliver a physical donation to AHS addressed to Mr. Witkowski and it will be placed in his mailbox. Mr. Witkowski ended his interview saying, “We consider ourselves to be an important part of the atmosphere at Annandale High School. We enjoy providing music at football games and just being a part of a great community at Annandale High School.”