By Robyn Flans | VCStar.com
Sales from nine gourmet food trucks along with hot dogs and Italian ices, music performed by Westlake High School bands and the support of more than 2,000 people were expected to have raised $25,000 for school music programs at a fundraiser Sunday at Conejo Creek Park in Thousand Oaks, according to a booster club member.
“It’s a fantastic program we’re supporting, and each year we have to raise about $100,000 for the program,” Susan Cotton said.
Some items the money will help fund are sheet music, bus transportation and teachers pay, Cotton said.
Band director Brian Peter said the fundraiser also operates as a social affair.
“When we raise money, it’s good to have events where it brings the community together and they can spend time together as families and come hear the work the students have been doing,” Peter said.
Many who did not have children at the school attended the event Sunday, such as Robert Slama and his girlfriend, Brandi Cole, who were with their cocker spaniel.
“We bought tickets from one of the students outside one of the local grocery stores and thought we’d check it out and support the event,” Slama said.
“And eat food,” Cole said.
Jeremy Kemp won free ice cream tickets spinning the Food Truck Wheel of Fortune.
“We’re here today to support the Westlake High School band and color guard,” Kemp said. “My family and I grew up locally in the area and have family who went through the band program here and realize funding is tough, so anything we can do to help.”
Jacob Walker, 18, president of the Instrumental Music Council and a musician in the program, helped organize the more than 100 student volunteers and children’s carnival.
“The arts have had the greatest impact on my life. If we don’t support the arts, they’re going to die, and we will lose so much passion and beauty in the world and opportunity for growth,” he said.
Abigail Cohen, 10, and 9-year old best friend, Sammy Wildman, were playing a ring toss game.
“I’m not the best at it,” Abigail said. “But it’s fun. I’m going to eat, too. After all, it’s a food truck thing, and that’s the point.”
Brian Scanlon, a professional touring and recording musician, has a 15-year old son, Avery, who plays guitar at the school. The father said music programs and band directors molded his formative years.
“A program such as this gives the students a great place to become better at music,” Scanlon said. “It grounds them in a program where they can be busy at something artistic, be part of a group and develop as young musicians.”