Cedar Ridge High School Band Boosters organized its third annual Casino Night on Friday, February 8, 2013 to help defray the cost to the marching band as they compete on the state and national level. Denise Powell, VP of Fundraising, explained that the school band program started just 3 years ago with just a Freshman and Sophomore class. This year, they will graduate their first Senior class. Band has grown from just over a 100 kids their first year to over 250 registered band and color guard students this year. The band is lead by four wonderful band directors, Mark Calima, Ryan Brittain, Rick Rodriquez, Megan Wike and Guard Director Geoffrey Sperling. Together they have lead these kids to several local and state competitions with many top ten finishes, an amazing feat in just 3 short years. The booster organization was formed to help organize the numerous parent and grandparent volunteers needed to run such a large program. The boosters serve as equipment crew to help transport the equipment and sound system to football games and contests, meal teams to serve hundreds of meals to our kids and chaperones for events and contests. To do this they needed to raise funds to offset the costs associated with such a large band. Sponsorships and donations last year made it possible to purchase a 48' equipment trailer and have it detailed with their band logo, something they are understandably very proud of.
Each year they hold 3 primary fundraisers: Carnival/Picnic and Horse Plop (yes, just like it sounds) in the fall, Casino Night, and their annual Golf Tournament to be held at Forest Creek Golf Club in Round Rock on April 27th. They will also will be hosting a band marching contest on October 12th, the Texas Marching Classic (TMC) at the RRISD Kelley Reeves Stadium. This is a contest that marching bands from all across the state come and compete in.
Unleashed, a local teen cover band, took stage during the fundraiser and entertained the attendees by playing classic rock hits by Bon Jovi, Kansas, Journey, Boston and many others. The band is comprised of three boys and three girls who all sing and play multiple instruments and are under the musical direction of Brian Curtis. Their vocal harmonies, led by local Round Rock Vocal Edge Voice Studio founder and teacher, Laurie Winckel, are outstanding. One of the Cedar Ridge High School students, Nicholas Winckel, plays trumpet in the marching band and lead guitar and vocals in Unleashed. The other members of Unleashed, Jordan Springall, Kaitlyn Whitlock, Patrick Bohmfalk, Jacklyn Halversen, and Mitchell Vanderwoude, are from five other schools in the area and their ages ranges from 12 to 17. Although their members are young, these talented multi-instrumentalists and vocalists have phenomenal stage presence and their musical repertoire ranges from the 50s to today's current hits. They have played such venues as The Oasis on Lake Travis, Old Pecan Street Festival, Juniors Grill & Icehouse, and many other events and charities across central Texas.