The Pekin Community High School Instrumental Music Program is selling flowers to help keep the program at low to no-cost for students.

This is the 39th year that the PCHS Music Boosters Club is selling flowers as a fundraiser. The money raised from the sales supplements the PCHS music program’s budget. Each member of instrumental music is asked to sell 13 flats or baskets.

“Every kid benefits from this,” said Karli McCann, director of Instrumental Music at PCHS. “In my 12 years here, I have seen a huge number of students use school instruments because they can’t afford to buy their own. I’ve more than doubled the number of school instruments since I’ve been here.”

Sales began in early February and are scheduled to conclude this Friday, March 15. McCann said their sales are extremely far behind compared to what they were at this time last year. As of Monday, they had $9,000 in sales. At this same time last year, they had sold $35,000 worth of plants and flowers.

McCann hopes sales will increase over the next few days. The decline in sales might have something to do with the cold winter, McCann said.

“It’s been so cold that people aren’t thinking about gardening yet,” McCann said. “Last year by this time, we had a few days where the temperature was warmer and people were thinking spring. The temperatures are supposed to go up this week, and I’m hoping we sell more. There are years we sell close to $40,000, but on average it’s about $35,000.”

There are quite a few options on the order form, which is available online at pchsinstrumentalmusic.weebly.com. The progoram is selling annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and vegetables. Some varieties include begonias, marigolds, coleus, vinca, green peppers, La Roma tomatoes and burpless cucumbers. Prices range from $4 for a pack of four vegetable plants to $30 for a full flat of geraniums or petunia wave flowers.

“I always get blue salvia,” McCann said. “They always get so full and tall. My mom says there must be something in the water, but I tell her, ‘Nope. They’re just band flowers.’ I get impatiens and tomatoes. They are just better quality flowers than the chain stores. They’re fuller.”

Sue Crowell ordered several items to support the program. 

“I ordered a few perennials and a flat of geraniums. I may have also ordered some vinca,” Crowell said. “I was involved with music at Pekin High many years ago and have sung in vocal groups all my life. I like to do this to support our music programs in the schools. I also served as a pianist for District 108 band students at contest for many years. Both that accompanying and buying the band plants are things I can do to give back to the system that fostered my love of music.” 

The flowers arrive at PCHS on the first Friday in May. Then Saturday and Sunday are delivery days. People who ordered do not need to pick up their purchases. Someone will bring them to the address listed.

“They arrive just in time for Mother’s Day,” McCann said. “They make great gifts. We’ve added some more basket options this year so there’s even more to choose from.”

The Instrumental Music Program includes those in concert band, symphony, cadet band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, pep band and marching band. The money raised helps off-set costs for pieces of the uniform, color-guard flags, marching band shoes, money to provide dinners if they are practicing around that time of day, guest clinician, travel expenses for farther than 75 to 100 miles away and scholarships for students to attend summer camp.

Drum majors are sent to leadership camp during the summer to acquire the skills needed for their position. Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University offer camps for wind and string instruments along with jazz band camp. McCann said that each year several PCHS students attend a national band camp in Nashville after they audition. PCHS helps pay costs for students to go.

“We never want to exclude a student because of financial hardship,” McCann said. “I don’t want to have to say, ‘Sorry, you can’t be in band because you can’t afford it.’ We are very well supported by PCHS. We have a substantial budget. This is a way to supplement it.”

McCann said they will happily accept donations if people do not want to have the flowers. The order forms may be dropped off or mailed to the PCHS Principal’s Office at 1903 Court St., attention PCHS Flower Sale.