Masquerade ball set to combine dancing, music

Maddie Mills-Craig, Reporter

On Feb. 28 the jazz band is holding a masquerade ball in the cafeteria to help raise funds for students in the performing arts department. Although the idea was presented last year, this will be the first year for Band and Orchestra to actually host it.
“It was a matter of we needed to do an event, we knew the timing of the year.  It needed to be around this time in the winter. I think last year it was around this time and they said hey we need to do an event and we thought, ‘well, we need to make sure there’s enough time to plan for it, and for it to be a big deal,’” band director Tom Wallis said.

The band department hopes to raise funds for students who may need assistance on paying fees. In the past, they have hosted other fundraisers that have been successful. The department decided that a masquerade ball would be perfect for this time of the year due to Mardi Gras falling on Feb. 28, which began around 1730 in New Orleans.

“We needed something that was going to be a good money maker,” Wallis said. “We knew that at least from the jazz band stand point, the swing dance that we host in December is usually a popular event and we thought we need something else that is kind of along that line but yet offers more opportunities for things.  So, we thought ‘let’s use that as an example for what we could do.’”

The event will include live music performed by the jazz band, a pancake dinner, a mask contest, a silent auction, donations and a raffling for themed gift baskets which were sponsored by local businesses and sports teams.

“Right now the Pacers, the Colts, the Fever have committed to donating items. I don’t know what these items are yet; we just have the commitment,” Wallis said. “Usually once it gets closer they send us the items. Some local restaurants doing things are Squealers Barbeque and some other local, township, Lawrence related restaurants.”

The band will also participate in dressing up by donning festive Mardi Gras colors like green and purple, according to junior James Howard they’re going to dress up in the Mardi Gras kind of spirit.  Both jazz two and advance jazz band will be playing swing music at the event.

“We’re going to be playing like New Orleans style types, so we’re going to be playing Second Line; that’s a pretty popular well known one. We’re going to be playing Dirty Dozen and the third is yet to be decided,” Howard said.

The money will be used to help fund students who can’t afford certain fees in the performing arts department and wish to join or for students on free and reduced lunch. Wallis hopes for it to assist students in the band program and finance scholarships for those who may need it. These are normally students who are on the free or reduced lunch, they will be eligible to request a scholarship to fund participation in activities or events in the performing arts department.

“It’ll help offset their fees.  We’ll use it to scholarship private lessons, instrument repairs if needed for certain individuals of need.  We use it to basically offset expenses in the program. Anything a student wants to participate in, this helps scholarship that. Whether it be Marching band, full orchestra, if they want to do any of the allstate opportunities, all state band, things like that.  It helps offsets scholarships for students who are on free and reduced lunch or normally could not afford to do these kind of things,” Wallis said.

This event provides an enjoyable evening for students and families while also helping fund those in need in the band and orchestra classes.

“It’s a fundraiser for the band program, but it’s also going to be a fun event for anybody else who would like to attend,” Howard said.