School has only been back in session for a week, but the Seaton Music Parents Association (SMPA) is already thinking about their biggest fundraiser of the year.
For 28 years, the music program at W.L. Seaton secondary school has been turning out apple pies to raise money to fund instruments, sheet music, trips and other important equipment required to enhance the students’ music experience.
“It is definitely our biggest band community event of the year,” said Geoff Dolman, Seaton band director for more than 28 years. “It’s a great chance for the new members to get to know each other and is a fantastic team-building experience, developing skills that can also be applied to playing in a band.
“The great benefit of this big effort is that it has allowed music students, no matter what their economic status, to participate in the travel, festivals and events the Seaton Music Parents have organized. These musical and cultural experiences greatly enrich the lives of our young people, thereby enriching our school and our community as well.”
It all started 28 years ago with picking windfall apples at Coldstream Ranch and striving to make a few hundred pies. Last year the team produced 3,400 pies — this year’s goal is 5,000.
Chief organizer Dionne Lane calls the fundraiser a logistical masterpiece.
“Every student has a crucial position in the assembly line,” she said. “We had 150 volunteers, used up eight large red bins of apples and used 2,500 pounds of pie dough.”
There are not only students involved. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents also play a huge role in the success of the day.
“It’s definitely an immediate and extended family but also a band family experience,” said SMPA communications director Elizabeth Ariano. “The sense of teamwork is incredible — it takes a community to build a band program.”
All of the bands’ hard work has paid off, as over the years they have won multiple awards. Most recently they received top junior and senior jazz band honours in the prestigious Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho as well as very high adjudication scores at the Interior Jazz Festival. These talented musicians have also competed at the national level. The bands have travelled to New Orleans, Cuba, Boston, New York City and have performed at Disneyland and in San Diego.
The dates for this year’s apple pie production are Oct. 1 and 15, just in time for Thanksgiving. Order forms are available from band students. Pies are also available if not preordered on a first-come, first-served basis at Seaton secondary on production days.
“Please help us support this amazing group of talented students and enjoy some very tasty apple pie in the process,” said Lane.