Pahrump Valley High School Music Instructor Michael Wineski has quite a dilemma on his hands as of late.
The second-year faculty member is hoping to raise enough money to take a few dozen music students on a trip to Hawaii later this year.
The excursion scheduled for early December, Wineski said, is not a vacation, but more of a special ceremony observing the 77th anniversary of the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, compelled the U.S. to enter the war.
“The event is invitation-only and it has to go through a committee,” he said. “I believe the committee chooses only 10 or 12 bands each year to perform during the ceremonies. We are one of 12 high school marching bands around the country that are invited to go on this trip. In fact, I believe we are the only high school in Nevada who was invited to attend this special event coming up in December.”
First things first
Wineski made sure to tell his students that the trip is not a sure thing just yet, as monies must be raised to cover expenses.
He noted that with the band and percussion ensemble, roughly 40 students will take the trip if all goes well with the fundraising efforts.
“It’s going to cost roughly $80,000 to make this trip, if we estimate about 40 students,” he said. “The package deal, which includes air fare, comes out to around $2,000 per student, including chaperones. We have about eight months to raise all of the funds.”
Aside from praying, Wineski said he has already set in motion the initial efforts to generate the funds.
“We started up a go fund me page, for Pearl Harbor or Bust,” he said.
“We have plans for all kinds of car washes and bake sales. We also have plans for the kids to perform or here in town to raise money. There are a lot of things in the works, but we are just trying to get it in motion right now.”
Out of the blue
Wineski also spoke about his initial reaction when he first learned about the invitation to perform.
“This is a great honor to be invited to this special ceremony,” he said. “I was completely blown away when the email came in, because it arrived on my spam email and looked different from everything else. I looked at it and I didn’t know what to do other than to respond to it just to see if it was real. I found out later of course that it was real and our principal, Jennifer Ehreart, was behind it as well. The email actually came from the organization who are putting on the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary observance event.”
Though Wineski did not have any additional particulars on the special ceremony, his main focus at present, is to accomplish the fundraising goal.
“I don’t have any other details other than we will be in the parade and we might take part in the wreath-laying ceremony,” Wineski said. “Our only hope is to get the community behind us because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of these kids. They are the true reason that we got nominated and we just want the community to know about this effort.
“We are of course hoping for straight-up donations from area businesses and individuals,” he said.
Earlier this month the band performed a fundraising concert at the school, to be followed up by additional upcoming performances.
“We also have two concerts coming up in May,” he said. “May 9th is our Musicalpalooza, where all of the schools in the valley will come together and perform,” he said. “May 12th is our finale concert here. We are calling it our classic rock concert to honor our seniors who are graduating. That performance will be a classic rock extravaganza.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes