March 17, 2023

WMS musicians fundraising to attend Great East Band and Orchestra Music Festival

By Jolene Bailey

Windham Middle School’s band and orchestra students have been diligently working hard to achieve their fundraising goal of $3,000 to help them participate in the Great East Band and Orchestra Music Festival in New Hampshire in June.

Windham Middle School musicians are currently
conducting the 'Rock Your Socks' campaign, selling
socks as a fundraiser to pay for a trip to the Great East
Band and Orchestra Festival in New Hampshire in June.
Funds raised will cover festival fees, transportation, and T-shirts for all the seventh- and eighth-grade WMS musicians.

Instructor Morgan Riley has been working in the Windham and Raymond schools for 16 years. She has additionally taught band, orchestra, chorus, and guitar to students at Jordan-Small Middle School, Windham Middle School, and Manchester School over the years.

“Students at WMS have attended this festival yearly minus pandemic years, since 2002. This is most certainly a tradition for WMS,” said Riley.

Students are selling a variety of 3-pair packs of socks, from plain to fun colorful patterns, ranging in children’s, women’s, and men’s sizes, for the fundraiser. Last year, WMS music students held a successful mattress fundraiser with the same company.

For every 3-pair pack of socks sold, WMS will donate one pair of socks to the Windham Clothes Closet, an organization that gives to people in need.

However, if people still want to donate but do not want to receive socks, they are able to donate to a specific student to raise their personal goal. If students are unable to reach their donation goals, parents would be asked to pay the difference if possible.

AJ Sweet, a seventh-grade percussionist who mainly plays the snare drums and bells, has been in the WMS band for almost two years. This will be his first year attending the festival.

Going will help us to get more performing experience which can really make a band better,” Sweet said.

WMS students will experience preparing musical selections for the festival and performing for judges, while competing against other middle school music students from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

After their performance, they will obtain specific feedback from their judges in the spirit of improving techniques as ensembles and listening to others.

Participating students also will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or platinum along with a plaque to represent their performance level. Over the last eight years of attending, band and orchestra students from WMS have earned gold ratings every year.

Leanna Rogers, an eighth-grade trumpet player who has been playing since the fifth grade, is excited about performing in the festival.

“Going to this event can help me because it’s judged and can give us all an opportunity to show what we know and how hard we all have worked,” she said.

Obtaining a music experience in school can help students in many ways.

“It’s been a great way to catch up with my old friends and create new ones,” said Rogers.

According to Riley, the festival creates an environment where students feel comfortable and free to express themselves.

For more information or to donate, visit If you know a current WMS seventh- or eighth-grade band or orchestra student, you can select their name and they will get credit for the sale.

If an individual would prefer to donate directly to the WMS trip, they may write a check made out to WMS, write "music trip donation" in the memo line, and send it to: Windham Middle School, c/o Morgan Riley (Music Department), 408 Gray Rd., Windham, ME 04062. <

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