Sat | Oct 19, 2019

Marching their way to parade talent overseas - Eastern Rangers hunts sponsorship to assist with 2020 trip

Published:Monday | October 7, 2019 | 12:12 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Members of the Eastern Rangers Marching Band.
Members of the Eastern Rangers Marching Band.

The best things in life are not always free, says Evel Mante, director of the Eastern Rangers Marching Band. The almost five-year-old music organisation is home to approximately 85 members, inclusive of dancers, choreographers, aspiring composers and instrumentalists as young as age 10.

“Our marching band is about building community; we remain involved in the lives of our members from assisting financially, developing social skills to engaging them in schoolwork,” Mante told The Gleaner.

The Eastern Rangers Marching Band comprises individuals from communities such as Rockfort, Hannah Town, Bull Bay, Mountain View, Southside as well as Papine, but is based at the Windward Road Primary School.

Known for their creative presentations, the band has participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr Parade in Tampa, Florida, for the past three years. The trip, however, is an expensive one. Although invited to next year’s staging, scheduled for January 20, 2020, the cost of airfare, accommodation, food and transportation still remains the responsibility of the band, says Mante, who founded the Eastern Rangers in 2015.

Aiming for larger group

Last year, 25 members made the journey to Florida.

“This time around we are trying to take a larger set as we always aim to do – up to 40 members – but right now only 22 have acquired visas,” Mante said, while adding that “we definitely require assistance”.

The International Harvest Church, located in Orlando, Florida, where the band usually stays, is assisting with getting ground transportation.

Airfare alone totals approximately $1.5 million, and the band is seeking sponsorship to meet the various expenses by December at the latest.

“It has been challenging to get a sponsor, the band has never managed to get one, and it is really a necessity. The attempts to get assistance from political representatives have never materialised either, but we have been grateful for friends who rally around us, locally and internationally,” he shared.