Sahara Pizza helps Mercer Island band on journey to London

London is supposed to be quite a sight around the winter holidays. The London Eye is adorned with lights, Christmas trees and holiday decorations abound and, of course, the annual New Year’s Festival Parade. This year, the Mercer Island High School marching band will get to experience it all.

Before 235 MIHS students can take part in the 2011 New Year’s Parade and Festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary this winter, the students must first raise the money to go.

The band estimates that each student will need to raise about $3,000 to pay for the trip.

To accomplish this goal, students have begun selling raffle tickets, MIHS pins and doing a variety of fundraising activities, like the one being sponsored by Sahara Pizza on the South end of the Island.

The restaurant, located at 8425 S.E. 68th Street, is donating $3 to the band from each order made on the second Wednesday of the month.

Steven Rowe, a senior at Mercer Island High School and an assistant manager at Sahara, said they get very busy, especially in the afternoons and evenings with people buying pizza to support the band.

“We have to get prepared several days in advance,” said Rowe. He added that Sahara often does fundraisers for various school groups, and after being approached about doing something for the band, the company made it happen.

For Matt LaCroix, a junior trombone player in the band, who also happens to work at Sahara, seeing people use the coupon is great.

“On the days I work, it’s been crazy,” said LaCroix. “Everyone gets scheduled to work.”

When the band jets off to London this December, it will be the first big trip that the band has taken since marching in the Rose Bowl Parade in 2006.

LaCroix said going to events, even ones close by with the band, is always fun, but the trip to London will be an experience of a lifetime.

The band was invited to attend the event late last year, but due to the high costs associated with going, the band originally said it would not be able to attend. After a large anonymous donation was made to help fund scholarships for students, the band was able to make the trip a reality.

“Everyone is very excited. When they first said we weren’t going, people were upset, but not now,” he said. “It’s fun at events like this when everyone gets together.”

While final plans and schedules for the trip are still being put into place, the band will likely take a few day trips to locations around London.

“There are so few opportunities to see another country with all your friends, and the event itself is another once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said LaCroix.

To give the MIHS marching band a donation through Sahara, simply order pizza on the second Wednesday of the month.

For more information about Sahara Pizza, call 232-9800. For more information on the band’s trip visit

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