Music department puts on annual Rummage Sale

Jonathan Rustad, Copy Editor

This year’s annual rummage sale took place Oct. 10 and is one of the many fundraisers that the music department has planned.

The rummage sale happens every year and raises money for all three areas of the music department, the band, orchestra and choir.  The sale is run by parents of the music department from Stillwater Area High School and by the directors of the three departments. In addition, the sale is also staffed by the music students.  The sale works by having donations from all over the community brought in the day before the sale, then sold the next.

History of the rummage sale

The rummage sale is a tradition older than some of the students at SAHS.

“The rummage sale was started by the choir 16 years ago and we’ve done it as a combined fundraiser for ten years,” Band Director Dennis Lindsay said.

The benefits of running the sale with all three groups is that the money raised is much higher than if it was just the choir.  All the groups in the music department and the families that help organize the event work  to put on a great fundraiser.

“When we did [the rummage sale] just with the choir, they would typically make around $2,500, with the combined departments we make that times three,” explained Lindsey.  Zach Sawyer, the orchestra teacher, new to the school this year, said, “Everybody communicates really well between the band, choir and orchestra and the parents.”

New methods to raise money and what it is spent on

All money raised is split up equally among the music departments and used strictly to benefit the music department.  From things like sheet music, all the way to purchasing and maintaining old instruments.

“In the band area, in particular, it goes towards instruments,”  Lindsay said, “Hopefully, this year we’ll be able to pick up a new tuba and access one new french horn.” “We use the money for everything, purchasing music, fixing instruments, buying new instruments, some will go to the Concert Orchestra tour to Nashville, just all the costs that come with running an orchestra program,” Sawyer said.

The fundraiser was inspired by another sale at Lindsay’s previous job as a band director in another district.  In addition, the fundraiser was chosen because it met certain qualifications.  It had to have no delivery, it wasn’t selling something people didn’t want, and it would benefit the community.  The rummage sale fits all these requirements.

“It was modeled after the Thomas Jefferson band department, which has a rummage sale, but they make about $25,000, they really go all out,” Lindsey said.  Sawyer added, “Well I think that people got really good deals out of this, especially towards the end of the day.”

This year to increase the money raised a new electronic recycling section was added.  Customers could donate broken and unusable electronics and the music department would give them to a company that would recycle them for the materials, like rare earth metals inside them.  This works out very well.  Donors get rid of their broken electronics, the company will pay money for the electronic device, which is then given to the music department, and the recycling company gets the metals they need.

“This year the [recycling] program was small, but we hope to add to it in the future,” said Lindsey, “Before that stuff [electronics] was coming in our door anyway and we always had to say we couldn’t take them, but now we can.”

The sale raises a good deal of money, but there is always room for improvement.

“We have talked about having students play during the rummage sale,” Sawyer said, “It could be a way to perhaps demonstrate what your money is going towards.”

Student volunteers and the rummage sale

Student volunteers help out by moving new donations from cars to inside the gym, sorting donations and put them in the appropriate category, and just generally helping out customers.

Senior Erik Nelson explained, “I took stuff out of cars and loaded them onto a cart and wheeled them into the school.” Nelson has helped out at the rummage sale for the past three years.

Student volunteering forms a large part of the staff working at the sale and for the future it seems more and more students will be needed.  For music students it is mandatory to sign up, however if they can’t make it there are other volunteering options available.  Staff agree that it should be mandatory, however students think that it should be optional.

Lindsey said, “Typically across the sale we have 70 percent of students that help directly with the sale, some help indirectly and several do volunteer work throughout the rest of the year.”

“I think we will need more volunteers next year because the sale has been growing each year,” Nelson said. “I feel volunteering should be optional because some people have other things going on, but all people should try and help out.”

Sawyer added, “I think volunteering should be mandatory because the money comes right back and benefits the students.”

Nothing is wasted at the rummage sale

Even if the items donated to the sale aren’t sold they still go to a good cause, most items are donated to various charities in the community.  Most objects, unless they are in bad shape are donated and not simply thrown away.

“There is a 16 foot truck that went to the Epilepsy Foundation that takes all of the clothing, all of the kitchenware, and quite a bit of things like books and they go to their foundation,” Lindsey said, “There is also another 16 foot truck that went to Goodwill.”

With another successful sale under their belt, the music department is setting our to have a great year.  Great concerts, as usual, are on the schedule.  With the new funding gained, the band hopes to purchase a new tuba and the orchestra plans on using the money for music and things of that nature.

“There is a good collaborative spirit, not with just the rummage sale, but with everything. That’s one of the things I love about my  job,” Sawyer said.