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Top horn player donates sax to help South Hagerstown band get back in the Groove

August 11, 2008|By THAISI H. VELASQUEZ

o To purchase a raffle ticket and view official rules, visit http://www.shhsrebelband.org.

HAGERSTOWN -- Tour the world as a musician with Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Huey Lewis and the News.

Check.

Top jazz charts with singles like "Born 2 Groove" and "Vinyl."

Check.

Donate a saxophone worth more than $9,000 to a local high school band.

Not many professional jazz musicians can check that off their lists, but Euge Groove, born Steven Eugene Grove, just did.

After the celebrated sax player and Hagerstown native heard the South Hagerstown High School Rebel Band was in dire financial straits, he decided he wanted give back to his high school alma mater.

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He said in a phone interview that he was reached by one of the parents and was clued in that the organization is having fiscal problems.

"The band is really in need of money," said Laura Horning, president of South Hagerstown High School Rebel Band Boosters. "We are struggling to provide for these kids."

Prior to making the donation, Groove asked to see the band's budget. He wanted confirmation the organization was being "run well."

He said he didn't want to jump into something without knowing all the facts first.

In the end, Groove decided it was a very worthy cause.

"I believe the people who are running it now have a great handle on things, but they still need financial help," he said.

After SHHS Band Boosters contacted Groove, he said he kept thinking about a creative way to help. He figured donating his personal saxophone would draw attention to the cause.

He donated his Selmer Ref 54 tenor saxophone, which was his main sax that he toured and recorded with for three years. Groove used the horn on his "Just Feels Right" album.

"I just don't give away saxophones," he said. "I think this is a very important cause."

After hearing about Groove's donation, Horning said she was "jumping up and down."

"I was overwhelmed," she said. "I've never even met him."

Raffle tickets are on sale now for $25 each. Only 600 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be held on Oct. 24, in conjunction with the school's homecoming game and activities.

Horning said the funds raised from the raffle would go to the general operating fund. It will help cover gas costs, show props and new instruments and uniforms.

She said the band's uniforms are in bad shape and are "pretty much done."

Groove hopes people will be inspired by what he's done and continue to support the band.

"Unfortunately when the economy is down, the arts seem to be the first thing to go," he said.

He added, "It's really disheartening when people say we don't have enough money, so let's cut the music program."

Groove said he can't imagine being that age and not being able to participate in the high school band.

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