Banding together to raise money for fire victims


Last updated 11/21/2007 at Noon

On Tuesday, November 13, Great Oak High School in Temecula hosted a benefit concert to raise money for eight Temecula Unified School District employees who were victims of recent fires.

High school bands from Fallbrook, Great Oak, Chaparral and Temecula Valley joined together with guest performers – the US Air Force Rock Band and the Riverside Community College Marching Tigers – in the Great Oak stadium to help raise funds.

“This started as a scheduled educational performance for the Spirit of Great Oak band to observe the Air Force Rock Band. It was postponed due to the fires,” said Jerry Burdick-Rutz, band director. “While rescheduling the event, I thought it would be a great idea to include all local schools and have a benefit concert to aid the fire victims.”

Teacher Linda Roper, whose home on Ranger Road in Fallbrook was destroyed by the recent Fallbrook (Rice Canyon) Fire, was surprised to hear the benefit concert was being held for her family and six other Temecula Valley Unified School District employees and their families.

“This is a wonderful gift. The school district has been absolutely wonderful in allowing us time to take care of our affairs and find housing,” said Roper.

Temecula Valley Class of 2001 alumna Amy Kaw, now the band director of the Fallbrook High School Warrior Marching Band, was thrilled that her school was invited to participate in the concert.

“It is an honor to have this invitation extended to us. It’s really special to be here and be included,” said Kaw.

Burdick-Rutz went on to explain that this was an excellent opportunity for parents to watch their children perform and at the same time focus on what needs to be done for the fire victims.

“We are very excited to be here,” said Staff Sgt. Troy Griffin of the Air Force Rock Band. “The performing unit is here to support the event. We also want to show the public that the Air Force is taking an active part in helping those affected by the fires.”

Representatives from surrounding fire and police stations, along with hundreds of local residents, attended the evening event. The home side of Great Oak Stadium was almost filled to capacity.

Upon entering the stadium, donations were accepted. The recommended donation was $10 per person or $50 per family.

“This is an incredible event. This really brings the community together,” said Janet Neeper, principal’s secretary at Great Oak.

Band members representing James L. Day, Erle Stanley Gardner, Bella Vista, Margarita, Vail Ranch and Temecula middle schools were on hand to lead the patriotic ceremony and support the event. Several vendors were available and the football boosters manned the concession stands.

Donations to this fundraising effort will be accepted until December 14. Checks can be made payable to TVUSD Fire Victims Relief Fund and sent to: Temecula Valley United School District, Attn: Rhonda Sharp, Fiscal Services, 31350 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula, CA 92592.


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