Michael Tutko is pictured with his mom, Tami, who is co-chairing this year’s 21st annual Bloomingdale Band Auction along with Starlene Banks (r).

Michael Tutko is pictured with his mom, Tami, who is co-chairing this year’s 21st annual Bloomingdale Band Auction along with Starlene Banks (r).



What could be better than spending a Saturday afternoon shopping for gift certificates, gift baskets, useful items and maybe a find that you just need to have? Where can you do this and not feel bad about spending the money because you know that all the monies raised through your purchases will benefit a worthy organization?

The Bloomingdale Band will hold its 21st annual Benefit Auction on Saturday, March 5 in the Bloomingdale High School auditorium, 1700 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico. Item preview will begin at 2 p.m. and the actual auction will begin at 3 p.m., an earlier start than in previous years. Everyone is welcome. Some of the items include various restaurant gift certificates, Busch Gardens tickets, Rays and Lightning tickets, golfing at local courses, along with Vera Bradley items. Food and drink will be available at no cost (donation suggested). There will also be a 50/50 raffle, and some silent auction items. The auctioneer is Evan Minck.

The auction is the band’s largest fundraiser each year, and supports the band program in many ways. It helps to offset instrument repair costs as well as the purchase of new instruments. A portion of the proceeds will also help participating students offset their expenses for the upcoming annual music department spring trip; this year, to Orlando’s Islands of Adventure.

Starlene Banks and Tami Tutko are this year’s auction co-chairs. Tutko said, “I assisted Starleen last year at the auction and we had a great turnout and amazing items to auction. It was a fun event for the whole family.”

Last year’s auction was very successful. About $9,000 was raised, and part of those proceeds benefited the students who went to London at the end of last year to perform in the 2011 New Year’s Parade.

Banks, co-chair and mother of a senior saxophone player, said, “The auction is always the best fundraiser the band puts on. In the past, we have assisted kids who were not able to afford to be in band to do so.  I have been a band mom since 2002 and participated in auction each year.”

She also said she’s enjoyed each year and plans on attending the auction next year as a visitor.  “I will always support the band, even when I leave as a senior parent.”

For more information, e-mail starjoybanks@yahoo.com or tamitutko@tampabay.rr.com, or call the school at 744-8018 and ask for Jon Sever, Band Director.

By Michelle Colesanti

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.