U2 concert could mean windfall for local schoolsTwo groups from Woodbury will be right in the middle of one of the Twin Cities’ biggest summer events — the U2 concert at TCF Bank Stadium.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Two groups from Woodbury will be right in the middle of one of the Twin Cities’ biggest summer events — the U2 concert at TCF Bank Stadium.
Both Woodbury and East Ridge high schools will be sending groups of volunteers to the concert to assist security and guest services for the July 23 event at the University of Minnesota.
“Who doesn’t want to do security for U2?” East Ridge theater director Amanda Hestwood said. “It’s the middle of summer, in an outside stadium working security for one of the greatest rock bands that has ever lived — those opportunities don’t come along that often.”
The concert was originally scheduled for last summer, but was rescheduled because of lead singer Bono’s health concerns and related back surgery.
Not only will the two groups be able to enjoy a free U2 concert, they will also be helping raise funds for the schools.
Contemporary Services, the contractor responsible for security at TCF Bank Stadium, will be paying each volunteer $7.50 per hour, with an eight-hour minimum. All funds go back to the schools.
“This is just something that we’ve always done,” said Shawna Carbone, the office and event manager for Contemporary Services. “It’s just a fundraising opportunity that is a lot different than anything else.”
The only requirements are that each volunteer be at least 18 years old and willing to attend training sessions.
Carbone said they solicited for volunteers by sending out e-mails to schools and groups within the community.
“We just kind of sent it out to see whoever bites,” she said.
TCF Bank Stadium will staff 700 people for the event, and a few hundred of those will be volunteers from schools.
The volunteers will be responsible for taking tickets, manning the ticket counter, monitoring general traffic flow, security, and other guest services type roles.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said 2010 WHS graduate, and volunteer, Matthew Stevenson. “You’re not only benefiting the school but attending a concert and knowing that it’s U2 is unbelievable.”
Raising money for the band
WHS band director Brent Comeau heard about the U2 opportunity after he received an e-mail from Rick Brown, the head of security at TCF Bank Stadium. Brown offered the band program a chance to raise $10,000 if they can come up with 150 volunteers.
“They were just looking for volunteers to help with this big event,” Comeau said. “I jumped on it right away.”
Currently, WHS has about 75 volunteers, Comeau said.
“It’s not too late to sign up,” he said.
Stevenson said he decided to sign up to volunteer because being able to see U2 live, while raising money for the band program was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“Why would I not want to do that?” he said. “I get to see an unbelievable band while helping out my alma mater.”
Comeau said the funds the volunteers raise would hopefully go toward the Marching Royals for items such as uniforms, travel and other expenses.
“A lot of our time and effort goes into the marching band program, so keeping fees for students in marching band to a minimum, or eliminating them all together, is a big priority,” he said.
Comeau said he was excited about how many band alumni and band parents have signed up to help.
Since the age requirement is 18 years old and up, it has meant many current band members can’t participate.
“We have just an awesome following who want to support us,” he said.
Helping out theater
Hestwood learned of the fundraising opportunity through fellow East Ridge teacher Gina Carbone, whose sister Shawna works for Contemporary Services.
“This was a really easy call,” Hestwood said.
Currently, East Ridge has 48 volunteers.
The East Ridge theater program’s monetary goal is to raise $7,000, which would go toward various theater expenses, including student awards and scholarships, costumes and theater maintenance.
“The funds will go towards boosting our program in ways that our ticket sales can’t cover,” Hestwood said.
Kristy Martin, who is heading up the volunteer group, said she hopes more fundraising opportunities like this present themselves to the schools.
“A lot of the times, fundraising consists of kids selling items door to door,” she said. “And opportunities like this take a big chunk out of the fundraising, so you’re not having so many knocks on your door.
“We’re happy and excited that we got this opportunity — how many people can say they worked the U2 concert.”
If you are interested in volunteering at the U2 concert at TCF Bank Stadium on July 23 with the Woodbury High School band program contact Brent Comeau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in volunteering with the East Ridge High School theater program contact Kristy Martin at email@example.com.