Spartan Marching Band for Kids Concert

MSU teams up with Sparrow for upbeat fundraiser.

Guests enjoy a performance of the Spartan Marching Band from well-appointed round tables.
SMB Director John Madden and host Tim Staudt look on as more special guests take the stage.
SMB Director John Madden shares a thought with MSU Football Coach Mark Dantonio.
MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo talks to guests.
Sparrow Foundation's Stella Cash addresses guests with event host Tim Staudt, "Spartan Bob" (aka Bob Stehlin), and Sparrow President and CEO Dennis Swan.

Good will, good weather, and two good causes added up to success for the 13th annual Spartan Marching Band for Kids Concert held Sept. 20 in the backyard of Lansing’s “Dean of Sports.”

About 700 community members gathered at the home of Tim and Cathy Staudt for the fundraiser that emulated an old-fashioned, town square concert—complete with a temporary band shell. Guests socialized, enjoyed food and drink, and listened to patriotic and traditional music performed by the MSU Spartan Marching Band, led by John Madden.

“I always tell people this is a party, not a program,” says Staudt, sports anchor and reporter for WILX TV-10. “This community is incredible with charitable events and we have so many good companies who support the cause.”

Since 2003, the annual event has raised more than $600,000 to benefit Sparrow’s Children Center and the MSU Spartan Marching Band. The idea for the joint fundraiser, Staudt explains, was inspired by the success of small town events he had seen near his family’s vacation home in Charlevoix. Thinking of his connections to MSU and to Sparrow, Staudt contacted Madden and the joint-fundraiser was born.

“When Tim first proposed the idea, the first words out of my mouth were, ‘yes, of course,’” says John Madden, director of the MSU Spartan Marching Band. “It’s a wonderful event that builds on the very essence of the MSU Spartan Marching Band: to build community through music and performance.”

In 13 years, Spartan Marching Bands for Kids has grown from a gathering of a couple hundred people in Staudt’s backyard to one that is knocking on the door of 1,000 guests next year. University athletic coaches and leadership frequently attend, and dozens of local businesses donate packages and items for auction. Attendance is so strong that Staudt’s neighbors, Tim and Polly Lilleboe, volunteered additional yard space for guest seating, and even had several trees trimmed to provide clear sight lines of the band.

“This is our community, this is the home of Sparrow and of Michigan State,” says Stella Cash, VP of Development and Strategic Partnerships for the Sparrow Foundation. “It’s our responsibility and our privilege to take care of our community and to make it a better place.”

Development Officer Stacie Peltomaa from the Sparrow Foundation added that Sparrow and MSU have enjoyed a long history of working together toward the common good.

“When people say ‘we’ll see you next year,’ or ‘I’m writing my check for my table and tickets right now’ you know that the event was a success” Peltomaa says. “Everyone walked away happy, and we raised money for our kids and the MSU marching band, too.”

For more information about how you can support the Spartan Marching Band or attend next year's concert, please contact the Development/Advancement Office at 517-353-9872.

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