The Cummings High School marching band has been invited to perform during the halftime show at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans in December, and school board members voted 7-0 Tuesday afternoon to approve the trip.
Greg Milton, who serves as the band director for Cummings’ marching band, had asked the school board to allow approximately 40 of his students to travel to New Orleans to perform at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
ABSS chief academic officer Revonda Johnson said Tuesday that Milton estimates it will cost a little over $1,000 per student to travel to perform at the bowl game, and the marching band plans to hold fundraisers to cover its expenses. “He feels confident they will have [enough money] because he’s been making some connections already,” Johnson told school board members during their latest work session. “We will work with the finance department to make sure any donations that are made are earmarked.”
The Cummings High School marching band also includes students from Broadview Middle School, who are also being invited to perform at the Sugar Bowl, Johnson told the board. ABSS schools usually assign one chaperone for every 10 students during out-of-town events, she said, adding, “I know they have quite a few ‘band mamas.’”
Several school board members said they’d like to donate money for the trip and asked whether they could reallocate their monthly pay for their service on the school board to help cover the marching band’s costs.
“The little $300 we make – is there any way we can reallocate [that] back to this?” asked school board member Ryan Bowden.
School board vice chairman Patsy Simpson noted that each school board member receives between $2,700 and $2,800 each fiscal year for continuing education and asked whether that money could be redirected to help cover the costs for the marching band to perform at the Sugar Bowl. “I would be willing to donate half of mine to Cummings High School for this particular purpose,” she said during the work session.
School board member Allison Gant countered, “That money is set aside for professional development.” [A reallocation of such funds typically requires a budget amendment, subject to approval by the school board, and a pre-audit certification of the availability of the money by the ABSS finance office.]
School board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves asked the school system’s administrators Tuesday afternoon if they could post information on the ABSS social media pages to make the community aware of the fundraising efforts for the trip. ABSS public information officer Les Atkins indicated that he would.
In a subsequent interview with The Alamance News, Simpson said that, to her knowledge, this is the first time in her 14 years on the school board that Cummings has been invited to perform at a bowl game. She said she thought Cummings’ marching band had been asked to perform at an ACC conference game in Greensboro around the same time that Notre Dame joined the conference.
“I hope the community would really rally around them to support this – it’s a really big deal,” Simpson added.
The Sugar Bowl is scheduled to be played at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. It was originally set for January 2, 2023 but later moved to December 31 of this year to avoid a conflict with Monday Night Football, according to multiple news reports.
See the Cummings High School band during Graham Christmas Parade 2021: https://alamancenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Cummings-High-School-Band-in-Graham-Christmas-Parade-My-Movie.mp4