I know we're all busy these days. I get it, I do. Like most of you, I work full-time, I'm a mom, wife, and daughter. The Boosters are supposed to be my side-job. Two weeks ago was the Subway fundraiser (which meant designing, printing, and distributing flyers, getting notices in the paper, coordinating lunches for the musical cast), last week was the musical (finding and ordering items to sell, selling those items, organizing the cast party, advertising on Facebook), and this weekend is the bottle drive (printing and distributing flyers, designing and ordering road signs, organizing volunteers, talking to vendors, purchasing containers and a tent, advertising on Facebook). On top of all that, I spent over 20 hours preparing for a shoe drive information meeting (talking to our coach, designing and printing posters, designing, printing, and distributing flyers, writing and printing information sheets, prepping bags, and figuring out what to say) that was attended only by another active Booster and my Mom. (That's right, no one else showed up)
So I get it, I do. We're all busy, but let me explain something. I am very passionate about this shoe drive. I love that it gets shoes I haven't worn in decades out of my house. I love that it generates money for the Music Boosters, money that we are putting into grants to help our kids take lessons over the summer if they want to. I love that we're donating money to the Keys Program, because cancer wrecks not only the lives of the victim, but the lives of everyone around them. It's even worse when it's kids. I love that some of my old shoes will be given to someone who is so poor that they don't have any. I love that other pairs of my old shoes will be used by someone to generate money to feed and sustain their family. I love that this drive gives the poorest of the poor in this world a hand up, rather than just a hand out.
The thing is, if the handful of active Music Boosters (seriously, there are like 5 of us) are the only people doing more than clicking "like" on a Facebook post, we'll meet our goal of 100 bags of shoes. We'll meet it even if I personally have to talk to everyone I meet about shoes, and those of you who know me know that as an introvert, this is no small feat. I'll do it because I believe in it, and because there is no downside to it. Everyone wins.
But imagine how huge this could be if more people get involved. I don't even mean massively involved! It can be as simple as promising yourself to talk to 3 people every day about shoes, and then doing it. I promise you, not one single person I've talked to about this yet (and boy howdy there have been a ton) has looked at me and said, "You crazy woman, you cannot have my shoes!" Every single one of them has said something like, "That's awesome! I have a ton of old shoes! Where can I bring them?"
Or, set a goal for yourself to fill one bag in the next four weeks. One. That's 25 pairs of shoes. Go through your closet, your kids' closets, ask your best friend and your Mom. Before you know it, that bag will be full, then call or email me and one of us will come get it.
Or, set a goal for yourself to take 5 posters and hang them up. Hang one at work, the grocery store, the salon, the gym, and at church, places you're going anyway.
These are just three ideas, any one of which you can follow through on and be more active than 95% of the people who read these posts. Slacktivism is a thing, folks. Don't be a slacktivist.
Again, I get that you're busy, I do. (Remember, 20+ hours prepping for a meeting no one but our VP and my Mom came to. So, yeah.) But just think of what a difference we could make if each of you picks just one thing, and does it.
The file below is the sheet I wrote for the information meeting. It details some simple ideas that you can use at places you already go. Pick one, just one, and do it. We'll all win if you do.
The Whitesboro Music Boosters, with support from the Whitesboro School District, have partnered with Funds2Orgs and will be collecting new and gently-used shoes from March 1 to May 31, 2016. We are planning some exciting events during that time (details coming soon!), but one question we are already hearing quite often is, "How, exactly, does this shoe drive thing work?"
In a 2006 poll, Time Magazine found that American men owned an average of 12 pairs of shoes, and American women owned an average of 27. (Sadly, I think I have more than that!) In the United States alone, an estimated 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away each year. Many of these are left to openly disintegrate or end up in landfills, where they can take over 1,000 years to break down, leaching chemicals such as Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (commonly found in running shoes) into the environment.
In less fortunate parts of the world, shoes are a rarity. A good pair of shoes can prevent infection, and can increase a young child's health by as much as 50%. In developing nations, inadequate foot protection can lead to contraction of disease, particularly from ground-borne parasites such as hookworm that can enter the body through the feet.
There are also other health risks for barefoot people. Bacteria in the soil can enter injured feet and cause tetanus, which can lead to lockjaw, a health risk we don’t consider in developed countries where most people are vaccinated. In high altitude areas of Africa, Central America and India, barefoot people are susceptible to podoconiosis, also called Mossy Foot, which causes massive, painful swelling due to an inflammatory reaction to volcanic minerals in the soil.
In addition to the health risks, a lack of shoes can also prevent a child from receiving even the most basic education, as shoes are often a required part of the school uniform. This lack of a basic education greatly impedes the social and economic development of these areas of the world. Education gives the next generation the tools to fight poverty and conquer disease. School also offers children a safe environment, with support, supervision and socialization. They learn life skills that can help them prevent diseases, including how to avoid HIV/AIDS and malaria. Children may receive life-saving vaccines, fresh water and nutrient supplementation at school. In developing, low-income countries, every additional year of education can increase a person’s future income by an average of 10%.
This is where we come in. For every pound of shoes we collect, Funds2Orgs will give us $0.40. That doesn't sound like a lot, but what it works out to is a bag with 25 pairs of shoes turns into about $10.00. Our goal is 100 bags, which will total about $1,000. We have decided to donate 10% of whatever we make to the Keys Program, a local charity that provides family respite days, music outreach and sibling support to families who have been impacted by pediatric cancer and life-threatening illnesses. From March 1st through May 31st, the Whitesboro Music Boosters will be holding a number of collection events (details on these coming soon), but at any time during this period, if you have shoes you'd like to donate, email us and we will find a way to get them from you. So clean out your closets, ask your family, friends, and neighbors, ask at work, ask your church, ask about the lost-and-found at your gym, ask anyone and everyone you can think of! If you have an idea and aren't quite sure what to do with it, or if you have no idea what to say, reach out to us and we'll give you a hand.
During the month of June, Funds2Orgs will send a truck up to us to pick up all the shoes we have collected. The shoes then travel down to their headquarters in Florida, where they are weighed and processed. The shoes are then sent to hubs in various third world countries, where they are distributed to impoverished families beginning small businesses in countries such as Haiti, Guatemala, Ghana and Senegal.
So, spread the word! Share this post, tell your family, call up a friend. See how many shoes you can collect! We'll be posting flyers and promotional materials over the next couple of weeks, but the general guideline for shoes is:
The 2016 B Sharp Scholarship Competition will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2016. Students in grades 10-12 from Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties are eligible to participate. The online application deadline is Friday, February 12, 2016, so don't delay!
For more information, head over to the B Sharp Scholarship Competition page. How many Whitesboro students will we send this year?
I did some research. What I found is that we can create a CafePress store. That way, we can offer a large number of items with the Boosters' logo on them. There's no minimum we have to sell. We don't take the order, we don't take the payment, and we don't deliver the item. To be very clear, we don't make any money off these items, either, both because we don't want to deal with taxes and because it makes the prices lower for you.
So take a look around! Pick up a car magnet, or stickers for your kid's instrument case. Or, just join me in my next rap, which will premier right after I find a good rhyme for "fo shizzle".
The Quilt Raffle is for the benefit of the Nobis family. The quilt was made and donated by a local quilt artist, and has been professionally appraised at over $1,400 (documentation included).
Tickets for this raffle to benefit the Nobis family will be available at:
After graduating from Whitesboro in 1982, cellist Christopher Costanza went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. A winner of the B Sharp String award in 1982, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1986, and a recipient of a prestigious Solo Recitalists Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1993, Mr. Costanza has performed to wide critical acclaim in nearly every state in the U.S.
Mr. Costanza joined the prestigious St. Lawrence String Quartet in 2003. He has toured extensively with that ensemble, performing over 100 concerts annually all over the world. As a member of the SLSQ, he is also an Artist in Residence at Standford University, where he teaches cello and chamber music.
Mr. Costanza's discography of works includes solo and chamber music recordings, including a a Grammy-nominated recording of major chamber works for winds and strings by Mozart. Several SLSQ recordings have also been nominated for Juno awards. His recordings of the Cello Suites of J.S. Bach are available for free online and on iTunes along with an in-depth commentary.
The SLSQ will be coming to the Utica area on April 17, 2016 at 2:30pm. The concert is part of the Utica Chamber Music Society of Utica season, and will take place at the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and will be available at the door.
What an excellent opportunity to see a supremely talented Whitesboro alumnus who has gone on to have a very successful career in music! We'll be there, will you?
MajoringInMusic.com has published their list of summer camps available for 2016. It's a decent mix of all sorts of opportunities from all over the country. Although most on this list are well outside the CNY area, it's still worth a look.
The complete list can be found here, or by clicking on the image below.
The Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music is holding its 14th Youth Chamber Music Competition on March 19, 2016. Any group of 3-8 musicians currently enrolled in grades 7-12 may apply. The primary purpose of this competition is to encourage students in the Central New York area to discover the joy of preparing chamber music for performance under the guidance of a coach. Coaching is available through schools, private teachers, or through membership in Junior Pro Art. Pieces must have contrasting sections, with between 1-3 movements, and be 5-15 minutes in total duration. The top ensemble will receive a cash award, and may be selected to perform at the beginning of the April 2 SFCM concert. All ensembles will receive written evaluations from a panel of judges. Complete rules can be found here. Application deadline is February 16, 2016. There is no entry fee for this competition.
During this season of Thanksgiving, it's important to realize how incredibly lucky our kids are to have the musical opportunities that they do. In many areas of the United States and around the world, children with the desire to experience the freedom and self-discovery that comes from studying music simply do not have the option to do so.
Charities such as Hungry For Music aim to remedy that by donating time and instruments to those in need.
In the list of summer camps we've been collecting, we've been focused on music camp opportunities in the Central NY area. Obviously, there are tremendous opportunities elsewhere in the US (and beyond!) and from time to time we'll detail them here.
One such opportunity is the A'Cappella Academy in LA. For anyone interested in sending in an audition, the deadline is January 1. This would be an amazing experience for anyone who loves singing a'cappella, plus it's a week in LA!
The Whitesboro Music Boosters are parents and guardians of current Whitesboro music students. As a group, we aim to increase the knowledge and enthusiasm of our kids for anything music-related.