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A Q&A with Band Mom Extraordinaire: Lori Saunders

Behind every great school music program are parent volunteers. Berkley High School is fortunate to have Lori Saunders, “band mom extraordinaire.”

“Lori helps with EVERYTHING,” says Alan Posner, Director of Bands for Berkley High School and Norup International Middle School.

“She just finished fitting all of the band students with their concert uniforms. She organized all of the rooms for our upcoming trip to New York City, and she collects all the forms and checks that come in.”

Posner says she even hemmed his tux pants for the last concert.

For Lori, who can be found most every morning in the high school band room, it’s a labor of love. She contributes a lot of time, and insists she gets back far more than she gives.

A 25-year resident of Berkley and mother of 8, Lori was kind enough to tell us a little more about herself.

Q: How many of your children have been in the instrumental music program?

A: All eight of my children participated in the music program at one time. Six of them made it to the high school level, four on color guard and my two youngest decided to become rebels and actually played an instrument.

Q:  Did you participate in band in high school?

 A: I graduated from Troy High school, Troy OH. I am an Ohio State fan. I played the violin for a few years, but chose not to continue. My high school marching band was competitive and if memory serves me correctly, it was a huge time commitment and expensive. 

Q: How did you become what Mr. Posner calls, "the band mom extraordinaire?”

A: Lynn Wasinski, whose daughter graduated in 2011, will always be the #1 band mom extraordinaire. She single-handedly organized all the band uniforms, and repaired many uniforms that most would have considered beyond repair. She put a system in place to help us keep track of uniforms and hold students responsible for assigned uniforms. Lynn taught me everything I know and hopefully the band is benefiting from this. Lynn deserves a big thank you for all her wonderful work!

Q:  You've met many directors during that time. What do you think are the important qualities of a BHS instrumental music director?

A: I am in awe of our high school music directors, Mr. Alan Posner and Mr. John Robertson. They are patient and consistent in their dealings with the students. They set the standards high and help the students meet those standards.

Q:  What are some of the duties you perform for the band?

A: I take care of the uniforms. I do minor cleaning and sewing when necessary. I organize the uniform fittings for marching band and keep track of uniform assignments.  I follow the band to performances and carry a uniform first aid kit.  I collect contracts and fees. I record all field trip permission slips, and monitor payments for trips, solo & ensemble and just try my best to keep track of paperwork.

Q:  You made it possible for the Berkley Instrumental Boosters to have the bake sale at Berkley Days, and the donations helped to replace 20-year-old drumline equipment. Will you be doing that again this year, and what do the band and orchestra need?

A: (Berkley resident) Barb Doppel had made many attempts to get the band involved in Berkley Days, so the original idea came from her. Mr. Posner was struggling to get funds together for drumline and we figured it couldn't hurt to try running the bake sale. Berkley Days was very good exposure for the band. The bake sale was easy! I think in the end, we had 80% student participation.  Jay Dubrinsky and Keith Flood are also involved in Berkley Days this year, and we will again have a bake sale. As far as needs for band and orchestra, I would say they have an endless list of wants and needs. I’m not sure if it’s been decided where donations will go, but either way, I’m in! 

Q: What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen with the BHS band over the years?

A: The marching band used to march on and off the field in block formation. Now they work on elaborate formations. This is a lot more work for the director and students using the same amount of time for band camp.  The band size has increased tremendously! We've come a long way. Now the students stay to watch the halftime performance, I can't remember that EVER happening in the past.

Q: What would you like people to know about you?

A: I enjoy my volunteer work with the band and for BIB. Most people think I'm absolutely crazy. I raised eight kids and when I had an opportunity to sit back and relax, I chose to get involved....with over 100 kids. I guarantee you, I am receiving more than I'm giving!

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