A middle school music department fundraiser aims to raise money for instruments, gear, music, and travel expenses.

The event is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Chaska Middle School West gym, 140 Engler Boulevard, Chaska. The music department is working with Custom Fundraising Solutions for the fundraiser, which will turn the gym into a “mattress store,” for people to buy new mattresses, said organizer and Chaska Middle School West Band Director Eric Songer.

“They have a ton of name brands, styles and sizes. People can purchase them in the gym, have them delivered, have an old mattress hauled away and even get free sheets,” Songer said.

The primary use of the fundraiser will be for students in Songer’s Garage Band program, which is traveling to Chicago in May. The fundraiser will also help students raise funds to pay for the District 112 middle school band’s annual eighth-grade band trip.

GARAGE BAND

Garage Band is a District 112 Community Education-run ensemble that Songer and his wife Heidi Songer started in 2004 as a way to involve students who wanted to perform popular music.

What started as two bands 15 years ago has grown into three middle school rock bands, two high school rock bands, multiple country bands, a hip hop ensemble, multiple pop ensembles, a jazz combo and a mariachi band. They perform at multiple events throughout the year.

In May, three of the Garage Bands will tour Chicago, performing at venues such as Hard Rock Cafe, 360 Chicago Tilt and Six Flags Great America. The band members will also get to tour the Chicago Recording Company, go to and possibly play at the famous Andy’s Jazz Club and see the traveling production of “Hamilton,” according to Songer.

The bands will be performing a variety of music, ranging from Queen to Panic At The Disco.

“Students in the band learn what it takes to be in a successful rock band including technique, music theory, listening and balance, improvisation and stage presence. And now they will have the opportunity to learn what it’s like to go on an extended tour,” Songer reports.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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