PITTSBURG -- Fundraising efforts are continuing this weekend for the Pittsburg High School Marching Show Band's trip to London to play in the city's spectacular New Year's Day parade that will be seen around the world.

In all, 110 of the band's 160 members will be leaving Dec. 27 for the eight-day trip, said Tony Martinez, president of the Pittsburg High School Band Boosters. Fundraising has offset $700 of travel costs for each of the band members who are going, but the rest of the $3,200 tab for airfare, hotel, breakfast and dinner and sightseeing tours arranged through a tour company is being picked up by family members.

The band will try to raise more money through a concert Saturday night and a used shoe drive that runs through Monday. The two events are the last fundraising activities.

The band's goal is to collect 7,500 pairs of used shoes in the hope of raising an additional $3,000 to help the students offset the cost of buying lunch on their own, since the tour package does not cover that meal.

"Any size, any style, and condition," of shoes are accepted, Martinez said. "There is a company that will purchase the shoes from us and they ship the shoes to third-world countries, where they are repurposed."

The band was invited to play in the 2014 London New Year's Day parade in September 2012. More than 650,000 spectators are expected to line the route for the parade, which is expected to have more than 8,000 performers and a worldwide viewing audience of 280 million people.


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This isn't the first time the band has been invited to play in a world-class city. In 2009, 167 band members performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Fundraising efforts for the London trip have included benefit concerts, food sales, collection of recycled materials, and the Great Rubber Duck Race at the Pittsburg Marina. Band members ended up holding the winning ticket for that fundraiser, which meant they won the big prize -- a 1979 Ford Ranchero restored by Pittsburg High students in the auto body program. The $5,000 band members got from the sale of the Ranchero was applied to the fundraising effort. Some hefty donations have also been made by local businesses.

About $80,000 has been raised to date, which works out to providing the band members with a $700 subsidy to help offset the $3,200 cost of the trip.

"We cannot pay for (the complete cost for the band members). It's been a commitment on the part of every family that wants to send their student on the trip," Martinez said.

The school district is picking up the tab for transporting the instruments and uniforms of band members and waived rental fees for fundraisers held at the Creative Arts Building.

In addition to the 110 band members who are going, 30 family members and 11 chaperones, which includes the band director, three assistant band directors and several band booster officers will also go along. It is estimated that the entire price tag for the trip will be around $480,000.

"That includes the kids, the chaperones and the family members that are following. They have to pay their own way," Martinez said, adding that the subsidy to offset trip costs applies only to the band members.

If you want to catch the band before they head for London, it will be in Pittsburg's annual holiday parade on Saturday in Old Town along Railroad Avenue. The parade starts at 11 a.m.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

got shoes?
The Pittsburg High School Marching Show Band hopes to collect 7,500 pairs of used shoes by Monday to raise money for its upcoming trip to London to perform in the New Year's Day parade. Shoes can be dropped off at Pittsburg High School, 1750 Harbor St., Railroad Cleaners, 2195 Railroad Ave. and Railroad Book Depot. 650 Railroad Ave.

IF YOU GO
What: Benefit concert for Pittsburg High School Marching Show Band features Mic Gillette, Mark Russo and Mike Williams.
Where: Creative Arts Building, Pittsburg High School, 250 School St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $10 advance, $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com or Railroad Cleaners, 2195 Railroad Ave. and Railroad Book Depot, 650 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg.
Donations can also be mailed to: Pittsburg High School Band Boosters, P.O. Box 1201, Pittsburg, CA 94565.
Make checks payable to PHS Band Boosters.