Chocolates and Cheesecakes and Candies, Oh My!


emma farley

Meredith Thiessen (left) poses with Barrett Nelson (right) before making a sale

Disclaimer: Farley is a music student participating in the fundraiser.

For many years, the music department at SHS has held an annual fundraiser where students sell a variety of items to raise money for a tour in the spring. Each year, a different branch of the department participates. This year’s tour is different for everyone, however, because rather than each section of the department taking individual trips during their designated year, all three subsections plan to go on tour together.
“[Our last tour] was canceled due to the pandemic […] We were supposed to go to New Orleans over spring break two years ago, but it was canceled the week before we went,” Rachel Lam, the orchestra director at SHS, says.
This year, choir director Ryan Casey, band director Dan Schmidt, and Rachel Lam decided to do a collective tour to make up for time and experiences lost due to COVID-19. This means a shorter tour, with about 300 students—three times the typical number.
Due to the large number of participants, combined with overnight and transportation fees, all music department tours tend to be more expensive.
“[A previous] Nashville [tour] came in at around $1,000, and the New Orleans one was a bit pricier,” Lam says.
The fundraisers conducted in the fall semester give music students a chance to raise money, both for the music department and for individual tour costs. Students can sell chocolate bars, cheesecakes, butter braids, and Bucky Books.
Senior Meredith Thiessen is one of these students. Thiessen has been in band all four years of high school and is currently the flute section leader as well as drum major for marching band.
“For me personally, I’m struggling a bit to sell things,” Thiessen says. “I haven’t had the opportunity to fundraise before; this is my first year […] Things are just hard to sell”
Due to the major gap between music tours and the large number of senior music students graduating this spring, many students feel that this tour holds more importance than previous ones. “I think there have been a lot of things through the pandemic that students have missed out on in some ways, and this trip provides that opportunity […] to have that experience with their fellow music students,” Lam says.
Chocolates will continue to sell until stock runs out, and butter braids sales will last until the beginning of December, so there’s still time to buy from a peer if you’re interested in contributing to the tour profits this year, according to Thiessen.
“This fundraiser is so crucial because [on the tour] it’s our chance to see the world and interact with more musicians,” Thiessen says. “Having that experience is super important.”