CATA band beats 300 to win $15,000 prize

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 05:59 PM

The Central Academy of Technology and Arts marching band beat more than 300 other entries to win a $15,000 grant from Rack Room Shoes. 

The Gift of Music video contest required that each entry make a music video featuring their band. People voted for the videos online. Their video, which featured the 12 Days of Christmas, received more than 11,900 votes.  

Band Director Leslie Craven plans to use the money to purchase marching band uniforms for the band which, though small, has experienced large growth over the past year. 

A year ago, when Craven interviewed for the job, there were 14 students registered for the band. Today, there are about 70 students in band programs, with 34 students in the marching band. 

The newly-designed uniforms were recently unveiled. The grant will cover the uniforms because the Charlotte Catholic marching band donated their old pants and hats, Craven said. 

Bryan Gurley, the regional manager for Rack Room Shoes, came to CATA Tuesday afternoon to present Craven and the band members with a check. 

Gurley himself played alto saxophone in his high school marching band. 

You are only just getting started, Gurley told the gathering of students. 

“It’s a wonderful honor being able to join everyone,” Gurley said. 

Craven found out the program won the grant in January. 

“We were (surprised),” Craven said. 

She added that they are a small program in a small school. 

The band spent about two weeks working on the video. 

Seniors Michael Johnston and Danai Mushonga thanked Rack Room Shoes on behalf of the band program. 

“Thanks to all of you guys, this is actually happening,” Mushonga said. 

Johnston thanked Craven for taking the band to “new heights.”