BHS drumming up funds with bazaar

By Carolyn Bahm

For a band rated as superior, raising $4,000 in travel funds is an achievable goal. Bartlett High School band students plan to earn more than half that by showcasing local crafts and businesses at their Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 23.

The bazaar will be in the gym of Bethel Church in Bartlett and will feature wares from more than 20 vendors. Items will include handcrafted decorations like pinecone wreaths, ribbon trees, and woodworking by retired Bartlett High woodshop teacher Smitty Wiley.

There will also be retail products like cookware, candle warmers, and jewelry. Band members will accept donations for gift wrapping attendees’ purchases.

Bayley Payant, a junior who plays baritone, sousaphone, and bass guitar (jazz band), said, “The support from the community would be a huge morale boost and could help us fund more stuff, which would motivate an even better product from the band.”

The bazaar will also have a silent auction from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with items donated by vendors, band families, and local businesses. Lynn Payant, Bartlett Band fundraising chair, said, “We have a beautiful painting by a Bartlett artist, jewelry, gift certificates from oil changes to dinners, bobbleheads, and signed jerseys from Redbird players who went on to the Cardinals. We will also be auctioning off a newly retired band shako display (hat).”

Proceeds from the bazaar and silent auction will pay for band transportation to two major events:

The West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association (WSTBOA) District Concert Band Festival in March

The Tennessee Music Education Association State Concert Festival in April

Competing in the April event in particular is a point of pride for the concert band program. Band director Dwight Dodd said they earned the right to compete by scoring at a superior level.

Rebecca Alberson, BHS sophomore clarinet player, said, “Every individual musician had to push the boundaries of his or her skills to pull off the performance we did to get to state.”

Attending the festivals will be a positive experience for all, according to Robin Nemati, parent of Nasreen Nemati, a sophomore oboe player. “It’s important that they get to compete and hopefully get to see some other people at other levels.”

A band program is costly, and school funding is limited, said Lynn Payant. She praised the director for making  membership as affordable as possible, and she said the band does its best on the $39,000 budget. “My job, as fundraiser chair, is to make sure every family can raise the funds needed so that no child misses out on the incredible opportunities, friends, and memories unparalleled to experiencing high school band.”

Band supporters who can’t attend this year’s Holiday Bazaar can still contribute: Mail donation checks payable to “BHS Band Boosters” to P.O. Box 341162, Bartlett, TN 38184, or see sponsorship opportunities online at