East music alumni association hits high note with fundraiser

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Hosting a Funny4Funds comedy show on Saturday, Dec. 2, the Cranston High School East Music Alumni Association was able to add $6,200 to their account.

"We ended up selling 115 tickets to the show. The money raised will be put into the Music Department Alumni Association account and the funds will be available for all departmental groups - band, choir, orchestra – to use for the expenses of their respective programs – sheet music, instrument repairs, competitive travel, etcetera," said Sarah Larrabee, event chairperson and vice President of the alumni association.

Fundraising has been and will continue to be a focus for the group due to budget cuts and increasing costs related to the programs.

"As the musical programs have evolved at Cranston East they have also become more expensive. It costs thousands of dollars each year to have competitive groups like the marching band and indoor percussion. With the budget cuts that all music education programs have seen over the past decade, we’ve had to rely on fundraisers in order to keep the programs at the caliber we’re used to. The band specifically spent many years staffing a concession stand at Gillette Stadium for football games, concerts and more, and that would bring in about $10,000 of funds annually. In the last two years, we decided to not return to Gillette because of the immense time commitment it required from our volunteers, so we’ve had to begin the process of coming up with alternate fundraisers - enter Funny4Funds," said Larrabee.

The Music Department Alumni Association, led by President Anthony Petrocchi (’05) Larrabee (’09), decided to help the fundraising efforts and put together a committee to make Funny4Funds happen. 

"We have been planning for Saturday since early October. Other committee members included East alumna Alysha Phillips (’10) and Makayla Proffit (’09) and a mix of current and former band parents Jean Ruggieri, Candy Shuman, Sue Del Guidice, Laurie Bussman, Laura Maguire, Rico Santopadre and Krista Schmitz," said Larrabee.

Local businesses, companies and supporters contributed over five thousand dollars worth of donations from local businesses for live and silent auctions and the raffle baskets. 

Larrabee was excited about how the night turned out.

“Saturday night was incredible. It is always humbling to see so many people come together for the Cranston East Music Department. When we got to turn around the “big check” worth $6,200 at the end of the night it made all the hours and hard work so worth it. I am honored to have the opportunity as an alumna to give back to an organization that gave me so much. I know how needed this money is and we will definitely be interested in hosting Funny4Funds again. Thank you to everyone; sponsors, donors, attendees who helped us raise a historic amount of money in our first comedy show fundraiser.” 

Longtime music parent Shari Roberti was glad to be part of the evening.

"My family has been part of the music department at Cranston East for 10 years now. I have three children, and each one has been involved with a different branch of music. Not only has it taught them discipline, structure and teamwork, they have made friends that will last their lifetimes. Another key aspect to the music department is it is open and welcoming to everyone. All you have to do is be willing to do the work, and they welcome you with open arms," she said.

While the original amount raised was $6,148, the amount was rounded up to be an even $6,200 when an audience member donated the extra 52 dollars if the comedian would take his shirt off.

"I have done a lot worse for a lot less," said comedian John Morris.

There is a Holiday Concert at the Cranston East Auditorium on Tuesday, December 19 at 7pm.

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