GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Bridgette and John Ujlaky are used to paying twice as much since everything has been double for them from the beginning.
Even though their twin daughters — Nadia and Charisse — may not be identical, they share a lot of the same interests, including music.
Both girls are in the Jenison High School marching band. They will join their bandmates in New York City this fall to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“We all had these tubes of confetti, and we got to throw them while (the band director) was telling us about the parade. It was a lot of fun,” said Nadia Ujlaky.
The band boosters raise about $5,000 yearly to support band activities, like the various competitions.
Melissa Cagle and Charlie Haehnel joined the boosters last year when their children were freshmen. They were initially thrilled to see the news about the Macy’s parade.
“We both called each other and were like that is amazing. Then about five minutes afterward, it was like what did we sign up for?” Cagle and Haehnel both said.
Sending 200 students to New York City for a week is not cheap. The trip will cost more than $300,000. Instead of the typical $5,000 fundraising goal, the boosters plan to raise at least $100,000. It will bring the cost per student down to about $2,400.
Macy’s representatives made the announcement last year in April and kickstarted the fundraising by donating $10,000. The boosters and families have had the time since the announcement to make payments and save for the trip, but there is a long way to go to reach their goal.
The boosters hope a fundraising event in March will make a big difference.
“A Night Out in New York” will happen March 10 with “food, dancing, glitz and glamour,” Cagle said.
“It’s like adult prom. You can get some new pictures to replace the cringey ones from high school,” Haehnel added.
Tickets are available online.
Besides the night out event, the boosters and band family members also volunteer at Van Andel Arena doing concessions.
“When you’re there and you’re seeing the concessions workers asking for tips, it goes to our kids. It doesn’t actually go to us,” Haehnel said.
Jenison will be one of six bands from across the country marching in the parade. Besides the big day, they will also perform in Central Park, take in a Broadway show and visit popular tourist attractions.
Donations can be made online.