For 10 years, the non-profit group Friends of Lacey Music, Inc. has contributed their time, money and dedication to the Lacey Township School District's arts. Lead by president Jeffrey Sanford and secretary treasurer Debbie Sanford, along with volunteers in the community, the group has been a great help to the music departments for elementary to high school students throughout the district. This school year, however, Friends of Lacey Music will not be returning, as the group has decided to disband.
"We tried to get some of our active members to take on our positions, but nobody actually wanted to do it," said Debbie Sanford. "It is a lot of work."
Since their start in 2002, Friends of Lacey Music has given $200,000 in support of and in donations, including musical instruments, to the Lacey Township School District.
"Unfortunately it’s going to have a big impact," said Sanford.
In 2005, the group purchased an equipment truck to transport the marching band, jazz band and drama club. Friends of Lacey Music plans to donate the truck to the district.
Although Sanford's youngest child graduated from Lacey Township High School in 2008, the family remained active with Friends of Lacey Music. Over the years, hundreds of parents volunteered through the organization to help with fundraisers.
One parent and volunteer of Friends of Lacey Music, Sherri Leiser, also helped when she could after her children graduated from the district.
"It's kind of an end of an era," said Leiser. "I think it's sad that its disbanding and they haven't been able to find anybody to step up to the plate willing to put in the amount of hours that these people have dedicated to this group. People don't realize how much was involved."
Despite disbanding, however, the group still believes in their cause.
"There are so many benefits to music education. It got the kids involved and out of trouble," said Sanford. "We believe strongly enough in music education to want to encourage it. We want to inspire on the lower levels and carry on throughout the high school."