The Oakdale Music Boosters is a group of parents who have put a priority on music in their children’s lives and are dedicated to keeping the band programs afloat during this time of budget hardships in the schools.
The music boosters (OMB) supports not just the band program, which includes marching and jazz bands at Oakdale High School, but the choir and color guard programs as well. It also helps support the band, color guard and choir programs at the junior high school and elementary levels.
“It’s been a great group of people who’ve kept it going,” said OMB President Jeff Hood, adding that some parents whose children have graduated are still involved with supporting the music boosters.
The music programs will be seeing changes at every level in the coming year. With the recent retirement of longtime junior high school and elementary band teacher Dave Cook, a position that the district will not fill due to budget cuts, the new high school band teacher will now oversee the lower grade level band programs as well. After two years, OHS band teacher Allison Davis, who replaced Ron Quintanal after his retirement, is moving on and now Ross McGinnis will assume the band director role.
Currently, Bryan Mills, who is the drama program instructor at the high school, also directs the choir programs for both the high school and junior high school. Danessa Jepson, a teacher at OJHS, coaches the color guard programs at the high school and junior high school levels. Cynthia Hoffman and Kathy Larson work with the elementary choral students.
“Music proves itself to be a benefit to other categories of education,” Hood noted.
The OMB started in the early ‘90s because of economic issues that were affecting the music programs. It has grown over the years due to ongoing parental support, and it has become “instrumental” in helping the music programs evolve and continue.
Hood reported that without budget cut issues, it costs the music boosters approximately $20,000 to $25,000 annually to support the music programs. The two primary fundraisers for the music boosters are the annual dinner and dessert reception and the fireworks booth. The money raised goes toward repairing equipment, cleaning uniforms, T-shirts, supporting travel costs for competitions, summer band camp programs, scholarships, and seed money for the annual fundraisers.
Hood said that the music boosters would like to be able to replace some equipment this year and also have the goal of replacing the OHS marching band uniforms, which are approximately 15 to 20 years old and are showing wear.
Hood added that many individuals and businesses in the community have helped the music boosters to help the music program. He said they usually get a good deal on dry cleaning costs for the uniforms, receive donations, and people also have a way to help when they buy their groceries by using either a Save Mart S.H.A.R.E.S. card or Raley’s Quality of Life (“Q”) card that are registered to support the OMB.
“We’re very fortunate with the community we have, that they do step up so often and with so many things they do,” Hood said.
With budget cutbacks, some things have been put on the back burner, such as new uniforms. Hood said that the music boosters have taken some burdens off of the district but would like to alleviate some of the newer budget issues even further as they relate to the band program.
Hood said that most of the parents involved in the music boosters are parents of band students, but he said that they’d like to see more parents of choir members. They currently don’t have parents of color guard members involved, but would like to see them join the group as well, as all groups are under the music program umbrella.
The annual dinner is held the first Sunday in November, this year it’s scheduled for Nov. 6 at the OHS gym. The fireworks booth will be located near Save Mart and will open prior to July 4.
The music boosters meet the third Monday of every month unless it’s a holiday. Hood said that they have an open officer position, need chair people for decorating and coordinating food, people who can help with band competitions and travel including helping the kids with uniforms and making sure equipment gets packed and unpacked, firework booth shifts, and more.
He said that they are always looking for new energy in the booster club and are happy to have fresh ideas and new perspectives.
For more information, contact the OMB via their website at https://www.bigtent.com/groups/oakdalemusic, or e-mail them at oakdalemusicboosters.com, or send donations to OMB at P. O. Box 2205, Oakdale, CA 95361-2205.