Class Act: Carbondale Christmas Trees

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By WSIL Manager

CARBONDALE -- It's a Christmas tradition for the Carbondale High School marching band. For more than two decades, parents and supporters of the Marching Terriers have held a Christmas Tree fundraiser. Each year, the event raises between $10,000 and $12,000.

"In this day and age, the expenses of being involved with a music program are high. We try to make sure any student can be involved and participation in these fundraisers is what allows that to happen," explained band director Greg Townsend.
 
Members of the award-winning band are front and center when it comes to helping raise the money, too. They help unload, set up and sell about 500 Christmas trees each year.
 
"It's a great team building experience. The kids work out here rain or shine. It's cold, they drink hot chocolate. They get to talk to people," said booster Andrew Wood.
 
Money raised by the boosters goes directly to help the students. It's used for anything from instrument purchases to competitions, even a big trip last year to Disney World.
 
"I know for the Disney trip they raised enough to pay off part of the payments so we didn't have too much out of pocket expenses. They help a lot, especially families that can't pay on their own," said junior trombone player Kimberlyn Massey.
 
"They actually were able to help us with paying for Disney World, because I had my brother going as well.  It was hard to afford two people going, so they were a big help, helping us afford that," said junior percussionist Anna Darling.
     
Townsend says it's not just the students and boosters who benefit. The community gets a chance to make a donation and get something in return as well.
 
"This is a way that we feel like we can put something into their household that will be a reminder not only of their community involvement, but that community spirit."
 
The lot will remain open until Christmas Eve, or while the trees last. The trees are on sale from 5 until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
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