By Marie Gilmore
For nine years, Pinch-A-Penny Owner Larry Rutledge and his staff have been able to hear the beating of the Newsome drum line every afternoon and even during the summer from his store located in the Winn Dixie anchored Shops at FishHawk. He understands the commitment and the dedication of the band and its practice schedule.
So, when he and his wife, Kathy, and son, Jimmy, were approached this year and asked to make a donation to the Newsome Marching Band March to Macy’s fundraiser helping to get the band to the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade this fall, he didn’t hesitate. In fact, he made his Sixth Annual Big Green Egg Fest a benefit for the band and invited the band to perform for the community outside his store.
The fest was a success and Larry, wife and son, also a Newsome graduate, were invited to a recent practice at the school and introduced to the band. Band Director Michael Miller and school Principal Carla Bruning were also in attendance to present a plaque of appreciation to the band and to accept the donation of $4,000 from Pinch-A-Penny.
The Newsome Band will open the Free Friday Extra Concert Series concert at Water Works Park on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. The series is presented by Friends of Tampa Recreation.
“This is not just a trip,” Larry explained to the students. “This is an opportunity that will have lasting effects on you for years to come and will have benefits you can’t even imagine yet.”
Larry is proud of his family-owned business and proud to be a part of the Newsome Marching Band effort. “It is truly our pleasure to contribute to this opportunity for the students.”
After the presentation, several band members approached the family to echo their appreciation for the donation.
So far, about $50,000 has been raised. The primary goal is to raise $140,000. About 160 band students are to participate in the Macy’s Parade.
FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny is located at 16715 FishHawk Blvd. Call 655-3700. For information on the Marching Band and upcoming events, visit www.newsomeband.com. For information on sponsorship, or hosting an event to support the effort, contact nbbfundraising@ gmail.com or visit its Go Fund Me page to donate.