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K-State Today

June 15, 2018

Annual marching band fundraiser scores a hole-in-one

By Alex Wimmer

Frank Tracz, director of bands, is joined by several participants of the 8th Annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament as Willy strikes the inaugural shot. The event took place on Saturday, May 19 at Colbert Hills.

The Kansas State University Marching Band hosted its eighth annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament on May 19. The event officially began at 9 a.m. in cold and rainy weather, but the morning moisture was not enough to detract from the preparations that began several months prior. The primary impetus for the event extends beyond camaraderie and alumni and community relations and serves as a large and necessary fundraising event for the marching band.

"Longtime band photographer and number one supporter 'Red' Skelton and I went to lunch one day and the meeting started like many other meetings I had with Red: 'I have an idea!' From this idea, the 'Marching Pride Scholars' program was born," said Director of Bands Frank Tracz, about the origins of the fundraiser.

"One of the major issues all of the collegiate marching bands face is the retention of the older players," Tracz said. "The junior and senior years become a challenge for students to not only schedule band in their day, but also to afford the cost. Most students will eventually have to make a choice between the band and a part-time job in order to stay in school. Thus, the Marching Pride Scholars is a great way to provide a $500 scholarship to the upperclassmen to stay in the band. The seventh year of this campaign provided a $500 scholarship for 176 juniors and seniors."

While fundraising for the Marching Pride Scholars is a continuous effort throughout the school year involving various community functions and civic events, the annual golf tournament has become a cornerstone for the funds' existence. It consists of sponsors for holes, carts and golfers — a representation of the incredible dedication from community members, business owners and K-State faculty. In addition to those who sponsor, the event includes a silent auction with donations ranging from Bill Snyder autographed footballs and Bruce Weber Elite 8 basketballs to locally sourced honey, gift certificates, baskets and amazing K-State memorabilia.

Each golfer was presented with a complimentary polo shirt and gift bag upon his or her arrival. Immediately before Willie struck the tournament's inaugural shot, participants gathered around an energetic performance of Wabash Cannonball from a contingent of band members. Upon completion of the 18-hole shotgun start course, golfers were welcomed back to the clubhouse with a spread of delicious food and beverages. While the day began in less than desirable weather conditions, the duration of the tournament was met with plenty of sunshine and perfect temperatures. More importantly, all proceeds went toward scholarships for the upperclassmen of the K-State Marching Band and Classy Cats.

"It is simple, the more experienced and mature players/marchers that are in the band the better," Tracz said. "All senior members continue to grow, and with the help of the Marching Pride Scholars program, I am confident we can help the students stay with the Pride."

At its completion, the event was a tremendous success with a total of more than 80 sponsors, 86 golfers and $32,000 worth of scholarship funds, enough for 64 members. Be sure to join us next year at Colbert Hills for the ninth annual Marching Pride Scholars Golf Tournament on Saturday, June 15, 2019.