Hudson Middle band community plans cancer fundraiser for band booster

Jacob Wentz, 12, and other sax players combine musicality with showmanship during a practice of the Hudson Middle School Jazz Band. More than 50 students from past years will take the stage Sunday to benefit former devoted band booster Sandy Kyzer as she battles cancer.

MICHELE MILLER | Times

Jacob Wentz, 12, and other sax players combine musicality with showmanship during a practice of the Hudson Middle School Jazz Band. More than 50 students from past years will take the stage Sunday to benefit former devoted band booster Sandy Kyzer as she battles cancer.

The messages have been going back and forth for weeks now.

Musicians from years gone by are signing on to the Hudson Middle School Jazz Band Reunion Facebook page to let others know they plan to be in the audience, on the stage or there in spirit for an upcoming concert to honor and benefit one of the most dedicated band booster parents in the band's history.

No doubt a lot of them are "In the Mood."

There's Marco Dubuque: "I'm looking forward to this =). Haven't played in like a year. I brought my instruments back to my dorm."

Dustin L. Kidder: "You'll see me there!"

Jade Quinn: "I don't remember how to play the bass anymore but is there any way I could help do something else? I would love to help."

And Shane Swezey: "I wish I could! :( I would love to play … I'm in Colorado now though so there's no way. I'll let some people back home know though so they can come out that night. And I'll be saying prayers for Mrs. Kyzer, the most selfless and hard-working band mom/volunteer any school has ever seen."

Times have been pretty tough in recent days for Sandy Kyzer, 52, who first came on as a devoted band booster when her daughters, Jessica, now 26, and Janet, 22, were members of the Hudson Middle Jazz Band.

Kyzer was a mainstay, doing whatever needed to be done, from sewing buttons on uniforms to chaperoning trips in and out of state, promoting the big-band sound and working the concessions.

"There was not one person in that band that did not know Mrs. Kyzer," said drummer Joel Quina, 22, who has pursued an education and a career in music since playing in the Hudson Middle Jazz Band. "We played 50 shows a year, and it was unusual that she missed a one. She was always there with her big old 1980s videocamera."

"No matter how early or late it was, she was always there for us," said Laura Mazelis, 21, who played clarinet and bass guitar in the jazz band (as Laura Renew). "She was definitely someone I would go to if my own mom wasn't there. I remember one time, right before a game, I was heading out and my pants were falling down and she hemmed them right there on the spot."

"Anything — anything — that they needed, she found a way to help them out," said former band booster and friend Kathy Schrader. "I've seen her buy meals for kids."

"She really stands out," said band director John Keon. "We have had great band parents, but she is far and above. She helped out with the uniforms, which is a pretty big job. She was instrumental in getting us our first (band) trailer. She even stayed on with us after her two kids moved on to Hudson High. You just don't see dedication like that. She's such a positive person, a faith-bearing person that's been just an awesome part of our family for years."

And when someone in the family has troubles, troops rally.

That's what happened when, months ago, doctors found cancer in Kyzer's colon and discovered that it had spread to her liver, lymph nodes and a lung.

Schrader, who had kept in touch with Kyzer over the years, got the word out. News raced throughout the band community, and before long Kyzer, who lives in Hudson with her husband, Anthony, was receiving cards, letters and well wishes. But Schrader and Keon wanted to do more to help with the rising medical expenses the family has been incurring.

The two put their heads together, and now about 51 former band members have signed on to play in this weekend's benefit concert.

Word is that Keon might put together two bands for the event, and Sara DelBeato, a former singer in the middle school band who performs regularly at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, will also be on hand to belt it out.

Despite a recent surgery, so will Kyzer.

"The kids are pretty excited about it, and so is Sandy," Schrader said. "She says she plans on being there, no matter what."

. Fast facts

If you go

What: Hudson Middle School Jazz Band Reunion Concert to Benefit Sandy Kyzer

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Center for the Arts at River Ridge High, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey.

Cost: Whatever you can give, and you can take part in the 50-50 raffle and silent auction.

Notes: Rehearsal will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hudson Middle. Donations are needed for the silent auction. Call Kathy Schrader at (727) 457-2122. Those who cannot attend the concert but would like to make a donation can send a check to Hudson Middle School, c/o John Keon, Hudson Middle School, 14540 Cobra Way, Hudson, FL 34669.

Hudson Middle band community plans cancer fundraiser for band booster 09/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:00pm]

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