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September 19, 2013
By Natalie Savidge
Greater Nevada Credit Union members, University of Nevada, Reno alumni and other donors rallied last year to raise money during "It's Time to Support the Band," a fundraising campaign to benefit the University's Marching Band, known as the "Pride of the Sierra."
Some of the fruits of the band's fundraising labor will be displayed Saturday during the home Wolf Pack football game at 6:05 p.m. against Hawaii as they unveil their new uniforms - a fundraising, design, fitting and ordering process more than a year in the making.
Greater Nevada Credit Union launched the fundraising campaign last year with a pledge of three, annual $20,000 gifts, plus the three-year, matching-gift program through which Greater Nevada Credit Union which could contribute up to $15,000 annually. In addition, the credit union held a branch contest selling $1 Wolf Pack Marching Band drum cards.
During a home basketball game last season, representatives from Greater Nevada Credit Union presented a check to the University and the marching band for $35,000, which included a matching $15,000 and an initial gift of $20,000 from the credit union. Through this joint fundraising effort, the $15,000 matching-gift challenge was met and nearly $60,000 was raised during the first year of the campaign.
"Through this fundraising campaign, Greater Nevada Credit Union has demonstrated terrific leadership and creativity, and has set a vital foundation for the Marching Band," said University President Marc Johnson. "This effort signals a commitment to students, as well as to arts, music, athletics and education, all of which contribute to the vibrancy of this region."
The University Foundation continues to fundraise for new uniforms, which have not been purchased in approximately 10 years.
"The Greater Nevada Credit Union support and funding from the community has made so many exciting things possible," Will Plenk, director of the marching, pep and symphonic bands, and conducting instructor, said. "We can't wait to show off the new uniforms. These fundraising efforts have also afforded a new set of drums, travel to San Diego this year and to Las Vegas next year."
Plenk said the new items are not the only thing to celebrate this year, but the band also welcomes 153 members, a big jump from last year and the largest band in the past three years. The Wolf Pack Tuba section alone has grown in the last year from eight to 11 members.
"As we increase our membership, our need for even more uniforms, instruments and equipment also increases," Plenk said. "Our most pressing needs are alto saxophones, tenor saxophones and trombones - these instruments range in price from $1,200 to $1,500 and we would need approximately five of each; uniforms cost about $415 each."
Plenk said Pride of the Sierra is in desperate need to also increase scholarship funding.
"We lose many students because they cannot afford the time it takes to be in band," he said. "If we had more scholarship money, we would have a much higher retention rate."
Greater Nevada Credit Union Chief Operating Officer Dean Altus said he was excited that the community joined in their new partnership with the University marching band.
"We are very impressed by how our community rallied around this worthy cause," he said. "The marching band is an integral part of the University and provides wonderful opportunities for the students involved in the program. They also provide great entertainment to northern Nevada families and help support Wolf Pack Athletics."
To learn more about supporting the Wolf Pack Marching Band, a major ensemble of the Department of Music in the University's College of Liberal Arts, contact Benjamin Korn, director of development at the University, 775-784-6873; or Greater Nevada Credit Union, 775-882-2060, or donate online.
Greater Nevada Credit Union is a financial cooperative that has served Nevada consumers since 1949. As northern Nevada's largest credit union, it has more than 45,000 members and $459 million in assets. Anyone living or working in northern Nevada is eligible to join Greater Nevada. For more information, visit www.gncu.org.
Natalie Savidge is senior communications specialist for the Communications Office.