Cash reward: Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps is Chase-ing money award

By SIMÓN RÍOS
Union Leader Correspondent
September 07. 2012 7:53PM
The Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps performs at a previous competition. (Courtesy)
NASHUA - When the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps declared bankruptcy in 2009, no one knew they would return the next year as one of the top groups of its kind in the country. But it did and it has maintained near the top ever since.

Spartans president Paul LaFlamme said his group could have done even better if it had the sound equipment to amplify its front line at the national competition this year. But money is tight.

The Spartans are running a full offensive to win one of the top prizes in the Chase Community Giving 2012 Program, which will award $5 million in cash to 196 nonprofits across the country.

Thirty thousand groups are vying for the money, which will be awarded based on the number of Facebook 'likes' each organization gets. The top prize is $250,000, which will be awarded to the group receiving the most votes, $100,000 to each of the next 10 groups, $50,000 to each of the next 35 runners-ups, $20,000 to the next 50 and $10,000 to each of the next 100.

The Spartans already know where they would spend the money: getting amplification, new uniforms and updating the stationary percussion equipment, which consists of four marimbas, four vibraphones, a tympani set and a xylophone.

Though the new uniforms are currently on the drafting table, LaFlamme said the Spartans' revitalization will cost in the range of $50,000 to $60,000.

Should they take in more than that through the Chase contest, LaFlamme said he would recommend putting it into a rainy day fund.

LaFlamme said all three groups that finished in front of the Spartans this year had amplified sound, something recently allowed under the guidelines of Drum Corps International, the governing body for youth drum and bugle corps in the U.S. and Canada.

'We made the decision not to go with (sound) last year because of cost, but also because we didn't think it was necessary,' he said. But 'it became evident in talking with judges that they wanted to see more balance form the front to the back, so that definitely hurt us.'

Voting began Thursday and will run through Sept. 19. But the race to support the country's nonprofits drew such fervor that the site crashed on the first day.

'If you think that having a community-based organization for young people focused on music during the summer months is important, we would love to get your support by voting on Facebook between now and the 19th, and it doesn't cost you any money,' LaFlamme said.

For more information visit the contest's Facebook page at facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving.

srios@newstote.com


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