March 7 BINGO supports music, band, performing arts at Indian River

Indian River School High senior T.J. Oxbrough demonstrates the music department’s new timpani, an expensive percussion instrument purchased through Band Booster BINGO, sponsored annually by the IR Band Boosters. Looking on from left, IRHS Band Director Jillian Bacon, senior Chris Loveland (holding one of the new mellophones also purchased from 2019 BINGO proceeds), senior Grace Kerr and sophomore Kendall Coleman. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

MILLVILLE — Fun in fundraising with a musical connection at Indian River High School is set to take center-stage Saturday, March 7 at the Millville Volunteer Fire Hall.

That night, the Indian River Band Boosters will hold their 12th annual Band Booster BINGO, with hopes of continuing success realized in 2019.

“Last year was such a success that the boosters used the profits from the games to purchase a new set of four copper-bottom timpani drums, as well as new mellophones and baritones for the marching band,” said Lisa Bird, Indian River Band Boosters president. “It was the first major instrument purchase in years, and we hope to continue to make similar investments.”

“We’re gearing up right now. It’s our single biggest fundraiser,” said IRHS band director Jillian Bacon. “While we have a budget from the school it does not cover all the things that we need. Band is a really an expensive endeavor. We have music to buy. We have new instruments to buy. Our BINGO is the No. 1 fundraiser.”

The event will include a variety of regular and high-roller raffle items, a 50/50 raffle, lollipop tree, concessions and more.
Ms. Bird notes that last year’s 50/50 winner took home $1,800.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event.

Prizes include both cash and items. The list includes $800 in cash prizes and other prizes, among those Vera Bradley and Thirty-One Bags.

This year there’s extra excitement with the arrival Thursday of the brand new BINGO blower and 8-foot lighted number board purchased in January by the boosters.

“This is a big deal BINGO machine. We’ve got lights. We’ve got sound,” said Ms. Bacon. “I know they’ve had a lot of trouble sourcing machines in the past, because they are old. So, the fact that we get to have our own will be very nice. And it means the clientele can actually see what is happening. Before, we rented one.”

Previous BINGO events have generated upward of $15,000 to $20,000, said Ms. Bacon, in her first year as band director. She taught the previous year at East Millsboro Elementary School.

“Last year we raised just shy of $20,000 at BINGO,” said Ms. Bird.

“The instruments funded by the BINGO game are expensive enough that they are not in reach for the kids,” said Ms. Bacon. “You talk about a new set of timpani; that’s the cost of a new car. It’s something the band boosters have to provide.”

Indian River senior Matt Schmidt tries out the new BINGO machine purchased earlier this year by the IR Band Boosters. Submitted photo

“Hopefully we’ll get some new tubas. It would be really nice because ours are really beat up. We’re looking at a new drumline possibly. Ours are very, very old,” Ms. Bacon said.

Depending on age restrictions, members of the band, choir and music department volunteer at the event, including some members of IRHS’s Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Senior T.J. Oxbrough volunteered last year, showcasing prizes.

“I was the (Wheel of Fortune) ‘Vanna White,’ said T.J., a Tri-M member who plans to pursue music education and vocal proficiency at James Madison University this fall. “It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy helping out and watching other people play.”

Senior band member Grace Kerr not only volunteered last year but was a winner through family ties.

“I actually won my senior portrait pack last year,” said Grace, a Tri-M member who plans to major in music education at West Chester University. “Every year I volunteer, because for us it counts as volunteer hours.”

Senior Chris Loveland canvassed the floor last year selling snacks to patrons. At IRHS he sings, plays mostly brass instruments and relishes the camaraderie. “I like the community of it all,” he said.

Sophomore Kendall Coleman, another Tri-M member, will miss the BINGO event because of robotics competition but will be there in spirit. She plays numerous instruments and already has sights set on attending James Madison University or West Chester University.

“And one day, I want to perform on Broadway,” Kendall said.

This year the IR band has trips planned to Gettysburg in April, and to HersheyPark.

The IR Band Boosters is a 501c3 non-profit that supports all the performing arts programs at Indian River High School.


Sponsors of the Boosters BINGO event are welcome, at the following levels:

• Platinum ($250), sponsors the entire event and listed on the front of the program;

• Gold ($100), sponsors one game and listed with that game in the program;

• Silver ($75), sponsors game or another event in the night and listed in the program as such;

• Green ($50), sponsors game or another event in the night and listed in the program as such.


For more information, call or text Lisa Bird at 302-569-1544 or email