Alumni Donations Boost Franklin’s Music Program

The Franklin Band relaxes moments after the conclusion of the St. John’s parade on Saturday, May 12. Photo by Griffin Schumock.

In the Spring 2018 Alumni Post, Franklin Music Department’s new director Jason Owens put in an ad requesting donations to fund the Franklin Band’s marching outfits. The outfits will cost approximately $50,000 for the purchase of 100 high quality uniforms that will suit Franklin musicians for many years to come. The department has already raised $8,000 through fundraisers and a donation from the PTSA. Owens wants to spread the band’s influence into the community by looking professional, saying “great schools have great bands that look the part.” Activities involving the Franklin Band will include parades around Portland like the St. Johns parade as well as Rose Festival activities.

The Franklin Alumni Association met Owens’ request with overwhelmingly positive response. Bill Gander, class of ‘67 and owner of Standard TV & Appliance, has been supporting FHS programs for a long time and decided to make a generous donation to the FHS Band. “$10,000 was donated personally from Bill Gander, then another $1,000 from Standard TV & Appliance for sheet music,” Owens comments on the recent donation. “We hope the community and alumni will match Gander’s donation.” At the class of ‘67’s 40th reunion, the alumni created a new program to support their old high school known as the “Student Assistance Fund Established by the class of 1967, or SAFE.” This program brings funding to projects not covered by other programs at Franklin. Aside from the performances that the music, acting, and dance programs put on, there is still often a need for extra funding to help FHS students succeed even further. These marching outfits are but one new step that Owens has implemented in taking Franklin’s music department to the next level.

The music department has secured future travel plans, something Owens has done with previous musician groups, after a meeting with Vice Principal Dennis Joule. The tentative destination is Anaheim, California, which would include marching along the Disney parade route and going to Universal Studios. The trip is scheduled for the last week of April 2019. Students will have to fundraise on their own for the trip and are currently doing so by selling first aid kits.

With the arts expanding drastically within Franklin, PPS will have to look soon for extra teachers that can fill the new positions. Such is the case with the instrumental classes, as Owens is adding more classes like AP music theory and drumline, but can not teach them all when he is also the choral teacher.

This year the band has taken a step in the right direction due to Owens’ leadership and continues to grow the arts department as it becomes a larger part of the community. Help from the alumni, donors, and the students themselves have allowed for this to happen. The arts flourishing in Franklin encompass creativity within our school community.

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