WBMS and WBHS Jazz bands raise funds with Jazz Café pasta dinner

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VINTON–The William Byrd Middle and William Byrd High School Jazz Bands held their 2016 Byrd Band Jazz Café spaghetti dinner fundraiser on May 27 at Thrasher Memorial.

The music was excellent and so was the pasta. Over 300 guests attended the dinner to be entertained by the bands led by directors Denise Aspell (WBMS) and Dan Plybon (WBHS).

The WBMS band led by director Denise Aspell (on right) performed at the 2016 Byrd Band Jazz Cafe on May 27 at Thrasher Memorial.
The WBMS band led by director Denise Aspell (on right) performed at the 2016 Byrd Band Jazz Cafe on May 27 at Thrasher Memorial.

The event was hosted by the Byrd Band Boosters, led by Robin Geisler who has been involved with the band program for eight years. Her husband Jed gets credit for the acclaimed spaghetti sauce.

Proceeds from the dinner go toward all bands and color guard programs at Byrd.

“This is the first time we took our annual spaghetti dinner off campus,” said Geisler. “We plan to build on it with the Jazz bands and make it an even better event.”

Members of WBMS and WBHS Jazz bands performed at the band fundraiser.
Members of WBMS and WBHS Jazz bands performed at the band fundraiser.

The parents of band students become Booster parents at the high school as soon as their student becomes part of one of the bands.

“We have a great time together building the band program to make the experience great and fun for our students,” said Geisler. “The students graduate with a sense of pride of school and themselves as they have accomplished such great things in band–something they carry into adulthood.  Band is a very tight group; they watch out for each other, encourage each other and build lifelong friendships with each other. Music really is a huge foundation.”

“Students at WBMS may take concert band in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades and we also offer two jazz bands at the middle school,” said Aspell. “At the high school we offer marching band, concert band, symphonic band, jazz band, guitar/theory, percussion ensemble, and music theory.”

Geisler thanked the Vinton merchants “who have supported us all year either through money or in-kind donations, with a special thank you to senior parent boosters” and the graduating seniors.

Aspell added her thanks to the band parents and Boosters, and “our amazing administrators for their support.’

“Parents should encourage their students to enroll and stay in band,” said Aspell. “Studies show that students in band score higher in core academic classes, score higher on the SOLs and ACTs/SATs, are more likely to be accepted to college, and are more valuable to employers no matter their college major.”

“Students can contact us over the summer if they are interested in our marching program or join us with a parent on Monday, June 6 at 6 p.m. at the high school for our parent/student marching band meeting,” said Geisler.

Marching band participants will be heading off to Camp Bethel for band camp during the second week in August.

Geisler says that the next fundraiser is a golf tournament coming up on June 18 at Blue Hills. They welcome all golfers and hole sponsors Anyone interested in participating should contact http://williambyrdband.org/.

See more photos from the 2016 Byrd Band Jazz Café on the Vinton Messenger Facebook page.