Welcome to Our 2018 Year-End “Thank You” Edition


Twice a year we set an opportunity to say thanks to the many individuals that make the Walton Band program run so well. Your students are getting a band experience that is consistent with the excellence that Walton High School represents, and it is your willingness to help that makes it possible.

We would like to extend a specific word of thanks to the following:

Our Board of Directors:  Lynne and Mark Durden, Robert and Joan Bruce, Jon and Carolina Helsel, David Hamilton, Chrys Kuick -Pocino,  Regina Rozza, Irene Barton, Kim Turner and Barbara Beauchamp We understand the countless hours you put in to keep the band running and we greatly appreciate your service.

-To our band camp directors: Chris Sumsky, Melanie Ayash, Lynne and Mark Durden– we thank you for taking on and excelling at one of the toughest jobs of the year.

-To Robert Bruce: Your work leading the roadie crew is so important to our band’s success, and we really appreciate your hard work!

-To Melanie Ayash for managing our student accounts. This is a very important job that requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and we so appreciate your dedication to keeping our accounts accurate and up-to-date.

-To our Directors: Mr. Palmer and  Mr. Johns, we recognize that being a band director is so much more than a 9 to 5 job, and we are sincerely thankful for the time and effort you give on behalf of our students.

-To all our parent volunteers: The band can’t practice without you chaperoning; the band can’t perform without you moving gear; the band can’t travel without your support; simply put, we cannot have the kind of band program we want for our students without you.

Nancy & Scott Anderson – WBPA Co-Presidents




We would like to recognize and thank all the wonderful parents who helped us out with uniforms this fall semester. Can you believe all we accomplished together? Fit uniforms on 170+ marching students, fit concert band tuxedos and dresses on almost 300 band students, packed everyone for the St. Louis trip, plumed and deplumed at every show, and made sure we got everyone looking good for each show and everything turned back in after every show. And did we mention multiple uniform washings throughout the marching season? We never would have been able to get it all done if not for the AMAZING volunteers that showed up and pitched in!

We really enjoyed working with and getting to know each of you. If your band child(ren) are graduating, we will miss you next year and wish you all the best. If you still have band time left at Walton, we would love to work beside you again next year! Thank you for your willingness to share your time, your dedication to helping make our students look great, your cheerfulness as you helped out, and of course your washing machines! We are so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for helping make this semester a success!

— Bevin Newton, Lisa Flagel, Kristie Eshleman, and Shawn Lieth Uniform Chairs

Thanks from your Band Representatives


We can not begin to thank everyone enough for your help throughout the season.  Our season simply would not have been the same without your hard work and dedication to the band.

Many thanks to Emmy Sturch for being the genius behind the Sign-Up Genius and keeping us organized and fully staffed with volunteers.

Our season began with a hot week in LaGrange for Band Camp.  Melanie Ayash and Chris Sumsky worked tirelessly as Band Camp Directors to make sure every detail was anticipated and met. We had a rock star group of Band Camp Chaperones that made sure the kids were hydrated, well fed, and entertained throughout the week.  Thank you for giving up a week of vacation to take care of our kids!

Laura McNeice, we greatly appreciate all of the snacks that you provided for the kids.  The snack bags were always the highlight of any trip back home.

Big shout-out to Shawn Leith and Jennifer McClish for a fantastic Senior Night.  Your planning and organization made for a Senior Night that the seniors and their parents will long remember.

We much appreciate the talents of Niki Walker who lent her graphic arts skills to redesigning the Walton Band logo, designing the 8th grade night t-shirts as well as the St. Louis trip t-shirts.  Great job!

Thinking of the St. Louis Trip, it would not have been the same without Kim Turner, co-directing the fantastic trip.  Many hours of planning, form chasing and coordinating the dedicated volunteers made for a seamless trip. Our St. Louis Trip Chaperones were phenomenal in giving of themselves to ensure the kids had a phenomenal trip!

We want to thank ALL of our Band Practice Chaperones, Away Game Chaperones and Competition Chaperones. You were there to fill up water cups, apply band aids or just provide a little comfort when our kids needed it.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

To our fellow board members, you dedicated yourselves to the band and to it’s success all season.  Many hours are put in behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly!

Nancy and Scott Anderson, our sincerest thanks for your leadership in a fantastic Fall season!  You are a great example of how parents can balance work and volunteerism at a high level.

Lastly, John Palmer and Chris Johns, saying “thank you” doesn’t begin to express our gratitude for such an incredible season for our kids.  Your vision and your leadership are promising for the future of the program.

–Lynne & Mark Durden – Band Representatives


Thanks from your Financial VPs


Thanks to Jennifer McClish for ordering hundreds of meals to keep our students nourished and hydrated. And all the parents who served.

Thanks to Michele Reick for arranging great places for Feeding Frenzies.

Thanks to Susan Vavra, Susan Sharrow and Mara Jacobsen for leading the way on fruit sales and all the parents who helped with that.

Thanks to Chrys Kuick for many many things including the WBBD.

And thanks to Emmy Sturch for her unfailing enthusiasm for the 50/50 raffles!.

— Irene Barton, WBPA Financial Co-VP


 Thank you so much to our band photographer, Eric Berns. He always manages to picture our students at their very best! Thank you also to all the wonderful parent volunteers that showed up  Walton Band Picture Day.  Special thanks to Katy Gadsby for your help and agreeing to take on this task next year!

Thank you to everyone who helped with the BBQ Dinner and specially Dawn Toporek for agreeing to chair this event, next year!

Thank you to our hard-working band directors. We had another great marching season in large part to your sincere dedication and leadership.

Thank you to all the dedicated band parents that donated so much of themselves chaperoning band camp, football games, band competitions, parades…. and so much more!

— Carolina and Jon Helsel, WBPA Financial Co-VP

Thank you to our directors, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Johns. Our first marching season under the “new regime” was spectacular. This program remains as amazing as it has always been, allowing our students an incredible music education, unbelievable opportunities, a chance to learn valuable life and leadership skills, and make some awesome friendships. Thank you both for your hard work and dedication to our students and the program.

Thank you to all of the board members this year, Nancy and Scott Anderson, Mark and Lynne Durden, Robert and Joan Bruce, Jon and Carolina Helsel, Irene Barton, Barbara Beauchamp and Kim Turner, and David Hamilton. It’s been a pleasure working with you all, and you’ve helped to insure the strength of the program moving forward.Thank you to our Band Camp Directors from July, Chris Sumsky, Mark and Lynne Durden, and Melanie Ayash. Planning, coordinating, and wrangling almost 200 kids for a week in the heat of LaGrange summers is no easy task. You all did an amazing job this year!

Thank you to Carey Chipps for running our first recycling event this fall. A record breaking day went off without a hitch thanks to Carey’s leadership. I look forward to working with you on our next event in March! Thanks Carey!

Thank you to Denise Carter and Julie Haas for your the work you do with our Scrip program. It never ceases to amaze me how hard the two of you work for a program that doesn’t make big money for the band program itself, but gives thousands of dollars back to our band families month after month. Thank you ladies!

Thank you to all the parents, both rookie and veteran, who took a shift (or more!) this fall. Between practice chaperones, game chaperones, trip chaperones, band camp chaperones, roadies, and prop builders, there are hundreds of hours that need to be covered to make a marching season successful. There’s nothing more important than showing up to help, and showing your child(ren) that what they’re doing is important to you. Thank you all for doing it so well, and so often!

— Chrys Kuick, WBPA Financial Co-VP


Notes from Thankful Band Parents


Lynne Durden: I don’t think many know that your job is truly way harder than ours. The hours that you put into the hardest jobs (Band Camp and Trip Director) are all behind the scenes. People see me as the face of the band and I get thanked often, but I know you are the one deserving of all the appreciation and thank you. Words cannot express our gratitude to you. Mark Durden: Thank you for keeping our kids safe everywhere we go and organizing our chaperones. Emmy Sturch, thank you for your sense of humor when helping us find volunteers and preparing all the sign up genius needed to make it all happen.

Carolina Helsel, Jon Helsel, Frances Maynard, Gregg Maynard, Jeanny Caryn, Alex Reed, Leslie Botko, Susan Vavra, Michelle Rieck, Danna Vach , Carey Chipps thank you for always saying yes to help when we are in a pinch and in need of help.

Kim Turner thank you for your leadership with guard this year and taking on the gig as Co-Director of our trip. It was agreed by everyone that it was one of our best yet.

To our Rookie Parents who jumped in to learn the ropes Niki Walker, Ron and Beth Compton, Karla and Chris Hilton, Katy Gadsby, Susan Sharrow, Dayna Teichman , Brandy Roberts you are appreciated. Donna Archer, thank you for making chaperoning with you fun!

Denise Carter & Julie Haas thank you for all your work to grow our SCRIP program and help parents earn credits towards band costs.

To our 50/50 warriors Bronson Beisel, Kimberly Gray Poe, Scott Mintz, thank you!

Ms. Bria Bali thank you for cooling hundreds of drinks and keeping our kids hydrated. Laura McNiece than you for taking care of snack and storing them at your home. Risa Moskowitz for organizing the WBBD party once again!

Bevin Newton, Shawn Lieth, Lisa Flagel, Kristi Eshelman thank you for making our kids look good.

Thanks to our alumni roadies – Tim Floyd and Gary West – for designing and building our props, helping us move on and off the field for competition, and generally making everything a ton of fun. Ron Compton thank you for jumping in and learning the ropes as fast as you did. So glad we have you! Thank you Adam Davies, for reporting to duty late nights to keep our parking lot ready for our buses arrival and prompt unloading.

Jennifer McClish and Brandy Roberts who organized every meal we are grateful for your work. Laura Mills thank you for capturing the special moments in photos.

Chrys Kuick- Pocino you deserve your own e.blast to list all the things you, you are deeply appreciated and we know the best way to truly thank you is to sign up to help you with Garage Sale.

A special thank you to Scott Brown and James Pluth we are incredibly lucky to have you, your talent is incredible.

Finally a tremendous thanks to John Underwood and Karen Hudadoff, whose students may have graduated, but who continue to be available to answer all my questions and provide support because they are just that nice.

I am  full with gratitude for each of you. We all pay our dues, beyond that whether one’s gift is a material item, cold cash, or supportive service, the motivation for giving it matters .It is to be present in our kid’s life and watch them learn, grow, come up short and get back up. It’s to have a peek in the journey of self-discovery and growth. If you haven’t yet, do sign up, do give, be there. They may say they don’t want you there, but they do. It’s a lot of work, but the reward is far greater. A humble, THANK YOU, to each one of you who gives. I

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson

— Nancy Anderson

Thank you to all the wonderful parents who help serve lunches and dinners to our band students. These parents make food service a pleasure! Thank you Nancy Anderson, Donna Archer, Jeannie Caryn, Teresa Castle, Lynne Durden, Chepin Hamilton, Carolina Helsel, Susan Hines, Lisa Kaste, Jacquie Lager, Frances Maynard, Susan Sharrow, Dayna Teichman, Susan Vavra and others who step in when they see a need. And special thanks to my meals co-chair Brandy Roberts—you rock, and I enjoy working with you so much!

One of my favorite things about the Walton Band is the teamwork—so many great parents who go above and beyond to help out. Special shout out to Shawn Lieth for taking care of everyone and everything on Senior Night this year. Thank you to Laura Mills for taking wonderful photos. Thank you to Chris Sumsky for announcing and making the special introductions. And final thanks to Katy Gadsby, Frances Maynard, Beverly Brennan, and Dara Onori for helping all the seniors and parents make a special memory.

— Jennifer McClish

To my Scrip Team- Jeannette Horton, Denise Carter, Danny Carlson and Dawn Toporek: Thank you for your consistent help selling Scrip this fall!  Your help and dedication made our sales run smoothly!

To my Scrip Coordinator replacement- Denise Carter: you were a fantastic student and now an efficient and outstanding Scrip Coordinator for Walton Band!  I’m so happy to leave the program in your capable hands.

To the WBPA Board- your outspoken support of the Scrip program this year has been so amazing! Family rebates are higher than ever and I appreciate all you do!

— Julie Haas


Thank you to Julie Haas and Denise Carter for running the Scrip program so band parents can earn money to pay for band expenses!!

Dawn Toporek

A huge shout out to Kim Turner for an outstanding job in all of your efforts in regards to our Raider Band and Guard this season. You’ve put so much on your plate and devoured it! So glad you’re part of our band family!



A heartfelt thank you goes out to chaperone Jon Helsel who carried our daughter, Charlotte Ramirez, after she broke her ankle during the St. Louis trip. Your strength and kindness are amazing! Sincerely, Carlos and Sandy Ramirez