Battle Ground High jazz concert will feature Grammy winner

Esperanza Spalding will be featured in benefit for band, which is $16,200 in the red

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian neighborhood news coordinator

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Battle Ground High School Band Boosters are hoping a jazz concert featuring Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding will keep the school's band program afloat another year in the face of a $16,200 deficit.

In the week before the fundraiser Monday at Crossroads Community Church, 7708 N.E. 78th St., Vancouver, event organizer and booster board member Kristie Owens was concerned because tickets weren't selling as strongly as hoped. As of Friday morning, she said 17 VIP reception tickets, at $100 a pop, and 274 concert tickets had been sold.

The boosters had budgeted to make about $45,000 by selling 1,600 tickets for the two-hour concert and 220 tickets to a pre-show VIP reception and dinner.

At the rate tickets are selling, Owens said the VIP event is likely to be canceled unless demand increases, but the main show will still go on. She anticipates the band program will at

least cover its deficit this year. Next year, she said, the program will be in the same boat.

"Right now, we're on the edge and a little bit scared," Owens said.

It costs about $25,000 to run the band program, which has about 120 student musicians. When participation fees don't bring in enough revenue, the boosters must cover the deficit, Owens said. And in recent years, there has always been a deficit, she said, typically about half of the budget.

This is the second time Spalding has played a fundraiser for the band program, which has six different ensembles. She grew up in Portland and took lessons there from Battle Ground High band director Greg McKelvey.

The jazz bassist and singer won the 2011 Grammy for "Best New Artist," beating out Justin Bieber.

Her concert in the high school cafeteria in August 2011 raised about $10,000. This year, the boosters wanted to re-create the success of that show, but on a larger scale,

In addition to headliner Spalding, backed by Israel Annoh and Janice Scroggins, the concert will feature Portland's Patrick Lamb and his Funkified Band. Battle Ground's Intermediate and Advanced Jazz Bands, and its Vocal Jazz Emsemble will round out the night.

The concert will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church, 7708 N.E. 78th St. Tickets can be purchased at www.tickettomato.com for $30, or $15 for students and senior citizens.