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    School band toots for loot

    To compete in Scotland, Dunedin High band members held concerts and sold doughnuts, candy and ornaments. They're still $31,000 short.

    By MONIQUE FIELDS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 20, 2001


    DUNEDIN -- Members of Dunedin High School marching and bagpipe band have stood outside local businesses and shaken down customers for money. They have sold candy bars, doughnuts and Christmas ornaments to local residents. They even held a golf tournament to help them realize a dream trip to compete in Stirling, Scotland, this summer.

    They have worked for more than a year to raise $70,000. But that's not enough, and time is running out. There are only two months left to raise the remaining $31,000.

    "It makes me nervous," said Madeline Dunsizer, Dunedin's band director.

    When asked about the worst-case scenario, she pauses.

    "I would find some way to scrape that last remaining money together for them," she said. "I'm not going to leave anybody behind."

    But the threat is real. Parents say they don't want to think about what could happen if they can't raise all the money by June 1.

    "We've worked hard. We've worked pretty hard," said Jody Dulmes, a band booster parent.

    "For a lot of these kids, this could be the only opportunity they have to make a trip like this."

    The band is holding its third Krispy Kreme doughnut sale. It has washed cars, sold red glass Christmas ornaments, and delivered more chocolate bars than members care to count. The need to raise money has become so dire, parents joke that the road to Scotland will be paved with candy wrappers.

    There is good news. Band boosters and students have more ideas about raising money. They have scheduled a fundraiser for Saturday at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. Another is scheduled for March 31 and a third for April 7.

    But when students hear about all the work, Dunsizer said, their eyes glaze over and they wonder aloud, "Again?"

    Dunsizer knew it would be difficult to raise $101,000 for a trip to Scotland in 18 months.

    Some area band directors questioned why she wanted take on such a project. It is hard enough to take students out of state, let alone out of the country, they told her. But with Dunedin's Scottish roots, the trip made sense for its only high school.

    "The only way they will ever know what it is really like is to go there," she said.

    And, for once, Dunsizer didn't want students to beg their parents for the money. Every time she turned around, "We needed more money."

    The request to parents would have been a doozy: The 12-day trip, scheduled in July, costs $1,685 per student.

    Holding fundraisers -- lots of them -- provided the answer.

    In all, the students have had at least 20 fundraisers since January 2000. A trip to Scotland also will bring their experiences in Dunedin full circle.

    "I've grown up around bagpipes. I live on Scotland Street, and we have a Scottie," said Amy Hoover, 16, who plays bagpipes and the clarinet.

    She and others say they have come too far to turn back.

    "I've fundraised my tail off," said Brian Jackson, an 18-year-old senior, who is a member of the Dunedin's Scottish dance troupe. "This is my last year, my last chance to go."

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