Written by Jack McCarthy   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00

batteries COLOR

East Aurora High School band director Brian Liska and senior Alicia Amaya set up a sales table last Saturday in the high school's band room. (News Bulletin photo)


New York-bound East Aurora musicians are energized by donation for trip fundraiser

A botched order for batteries is helping power a fundraiser for a summer road trip for East Aurora High School musicians.

And just in time for Christmas electronics gift-giving, the school’s music department held a battery sale at bargain basement rates designed to help put a dent in the the $120,000-plus costs of a June music trip to New York City.

“Every student going on the New York trip has to pay or raise $1,000,” said Brian Liska, East Aurora band director. “We have 123 going on the trip, that's $123,000.”

There were bargains to be had. Duracell Procell batteries — some with lifespans through 2020 — were available for sale in boxes of 24 for AAA and AA sizes or 12 D batteries for just $8 per box.

Proceeds will help offset costs to send band and chorus members on a five-day trip that will embrace New York’s cultural, historic and tourist attractions.

“If we can raise $1,000 we’ll take a little off everybody’s trip,” Liska said. “If we can raise $2,000, it will take a little more.”

The East Aurora delegation will travel in three buses and have an itinerary that includes workshops with New York professionals, a New York Philharmonic performance, a Broadway show and the Tomcats' own performance at a Manhattan building.

The group will also tour world-renowned Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown and Little Italy, the Statue of Liberty and the Sept. 11 memorial.

Students have collected donations through bake sales, a recent poinsettia sale and will continue to offer batteries at various concerts. Car washes come next when the weather warms up.

East High musicians have previously traveled to Disney World in alternating years. But Liska wanted to try something more ambitious and students have responded to the New York trip.

Four years ago around 42 students went to Disney World and 72 signed up in 2012. The New York trip has attracted 92 band signups and 18 from the East Aurora choir, plus chaperones.

The batteries came from an East Aurora School District 131 purchase order that called for receipt of hundreds of individual batteries for use in offices and schools. But an error resulted instead with hundreds of boxes of batteries, a cost reportedly in excess of $46,000 more than budgeted.

Returning the batteries was problematic since the district would reportedly have received credit for 20 percent of the original value.

So officials decided to make lemonade out of lemons, offering the batteries to district organizations and fundraising projects.

“I have a ton here that they brought over and I know there’s more,” Liska said. 

Batteries will continue to be sold at East Aurora music concerts through the year and other school groups will have a chance to sell and fund their own projects.

Other donations to help students pay for the trip are also welcome. 

For donations or more information contact Liska at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 630-299-8157 or choir Director Lisa Gawlik at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 630-299-8146.

For more information about East Aurora music visit www.d131music.org.


—Jack McCarthy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:42
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