Burke's band classic helps fund scholarships

Burke High School's marching band forms a 9/11 on the field while paying tribute to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Christina Elmore

Burke High School's 23rd Palmetto Invitational Band Classic signified more than the coming together of high school and college marching bands to serenade a crowd of thousands.

Money raised from the event funds scholarships, allowing Burke's band to give back by investing in the education of its students, Booster Club President Ruth Lilienthal said.

"This is our big fundraiser," Lilienthal said. "It helps them (Burke seniors) to further their education and go to college when some of them don't have the means to do so."

Lilienthal said more than 3,000 people attended Sunday's classic at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Along with the scholarships, ticket sales go toward compensating the bands for participating.

The scholarships range from $500 to $1,500 and are awarded based on essays and applications submitted by the band's seniors.

South Carolina State University, Bethune Cookman University and Benedict College were showcased this year, all of which have current band students who graduated from Burke.

Along with Burke, R.B. Stall and Cross high schools also performed.

Seven scholarships will be awarded to Burke's senior marchers in the spring.

Darryl Lee, a 17-year-old trumpet player from West Ashley, plans on applying for a scholarship to help pay for any one of the four schools he's considering.

"I'm looking at Coastal Carolina University, Clemson University, USC and University of Miami," Lee said.

"I want to look into finding a nice topic that actually relates to what's going on in the world," he said of his scholarship essay.

Burke Band Director Linard McCloud, who has led the "High Stepping" Bulldogs for more than 30 years, said 15 seniors are in this year's band.

He said his goal is to make sure that students take the time to plan for their future.

"This is a talented class," McCloud said. "We have this thing in the band where everyone has to do something -- go to college or do something. You can't be in the band and aspire to be nothing."

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908