ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School Band’s effort to raise money so it can play in Washington, D.C. in May got an unexpected boost this week when seven township officials pledged to donate $200 each.

The impromptu show of support came at the Tuesday night meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. At the meeting, two members of the band, Emma Wilk and Sara Wilson, asked the council to help the band’s fundraising effort.

Wilk, a junior who plays French horn, and Wilson, a sophomore who plays saxophone, did not ask for money and, at first, nobody offered any.

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Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo, noting his children were band members, pledged the council’s support and expressed confidence that people and businesses in Roxbury would open their wallets.

“I’ve seen the community rally and step up for a lot of important events in Roxbury,” DeFillippo said. “And I’m absolutely confident that, once the community is aware of what you’re trying to do and what you need, that they will absolutely step up and help out with this.”

DeFillippo pledged “the council and mayor’s full support” and said he and his colleagues would “do whatever we can to raise that money.”

Ante Up Time

It was state Sen. Anthony Bucco, who also serves as Roxbury’s township counsel, who turned that promise into an offer of cold, hard cash. “I will start off the bidding at $200,” said Bucco, drawing applause from those at the meeting.

Once that took place, the six council members at the meeting – DeFillippo, Jaki Albrecht, Mark Crowley, Fred Hall, Jim Rilee and Tom Carey - followed suit. Each agreed to match the lawyers’ pledge, with many noting that their children were once Roxbury band members.

“I don’t think you expected to leave here tonight with $1,400, but there you go,” said the mayor. “We’ll get that to you.”

As of Friday, the GoFundMe site created by the Roxbury High School Band Parents Association (RHSBPA) had received about $2,150 in donations. The RHSBPA’s goal is to raise at least $10,000.

Wilk and Wilson said it will cost each band member $250 to 350 to go on the trip and play in the National Memorial Day Parade. The Roxbury High School Band was nominated by U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski “to be an official representative” of New Jersey at the May 25 event.

“This is an amazing event and an amazing opportunity for the band,” DeFillippo said.

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