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A Winning Concert

The Mansfield High School Ice Hockey Booster Club in Mansfield, Mass., holds an annual benefit concert where community members can see a good show while supporting the team. 

The Mansfield (Mass.) High School Ice Hockey Booster Club was looking for an annual fundraiser, and found one through doing a holiday season benefit concert. For the past two years, the December event has featured Ornament, a Massachusetts-based Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) tribute band that is popular in the area.

"The first year, we didn't know what to expect and we didn't know what kind of crowd we were going to draw," says booster club member Joe Callahan. "We basically broke even. But word of mouth got out, and folks knew we were doing it the second time. So this year, we brought the same people back and they brought a lot of friends with them, making this year's event more profitable."

Key to this year's success was advertising the concert as much as possible. The band supplied an 11x17" poster designed by a member of Ornament's team, which was given to several local businesses, posted at the team's home ice rink, and sent to the local newspapers. The band also wrote a press release for the club to use as a promotion with the newspapers. Another promotional venue was with the local public access cable station. Ornament and booster club members went to the station and recorded a 20-minute spot, promoting the concert.

The effort paid off in the end, with the school's auditorium almost full on the night of the concert. Being able to hold the fundraiser at the school was an added bonus, since the hockey team plays and practices at a rink in a neighboring town. "I thought it was important to offer the concert at the school, rather than asking people to drive all the way to the rink," says Callahan.

Although the final numbers are not in yet, Callahan feels confident that the event was successful enough to continue. "We need to wait and see how much money we made this year," he says. "But I would say that as of right now, we are planning on doing it again next year."
 
Callahan's advice for a club that would like to do something similar is simple: Start with a kind of music popular for the area, search for a local tribute band that is willing to help with benefits and fundraisers, and build it from there. Once the band and concert's date is set, the most important thing is promotion. "Get the word out any way possible, either through the local newspapers, or the local cable and radio stations if you have them," Callahan says. "It's the constant promotion that's key."



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