We really rocked the school house Saturday night! The entire cast set the tone opening the event with, Rock the School House, an original song written by Steven Pease. Jaws were dropping and hands were clapping when Steven Pease “took us to church” with his piano playing prowess and very fine vocals.
Next on stage was the Evan Riley Band and they "Wowed!" us with contagious, rhythmic energy- you would've never know how ill Evan was shortly before this exhausting event. Evan is an inspiration!
Brian & Jan Knutson’s success as a married couple carried over on to the stage as their beautifully paired voices delivered our message in prayer like song.
Our next teacher/musician looks the part…of musician that is! And cool teacher! And rockin’ Dad! Bill Conway’s family band cranked out jams that captured the spirit of the event!
The variety of sets held the interest of the audience. The appearance of Cellist Seth Matuszak was totally unexpected by our guests. Seth’s cello melodies soothed our souls.
The first of two 50/50 raffles got the crowd in a giving mood when winner Betsy Reimer (Craig alumna) gave her cash prize back to the event! Intermission gave the guests a chance to buy meat and more 50/50 raffle tickets, T-shirts, snacks, talk to students representing outstanding programs, and observe the Craig/Parker robot in action! The lights flickered and the crowd of 436 filed back into the gorgeous, acoustically pleasing JPAC theater (formerly Marshall Middle School Auditorium).
Stage manager Mike Drinkwater had things under control backstage; including the curtain that revealed a whole new side of Yolanda Cargile! Yolanda raised the bar when she raised her heel height with every costume change (4 runway worthy outfits in all)! No fear if her sense of style broke the SDJ dress code - she might have a career in standup comedy in her future.
The house was back in groove with the undeniable and unbelievable talent of Steven Pease & Swingfish! Retired teacher, Dave Viemeister, kept the beat on drums and retired teacher, Dave Lennox, played tuba to round out the sensational sounds of Steven’s band.
Retirement doesn’t mean “out of tune” for the next truly wonderful performance by Tryg Danielson. There were not a lot of dry eyes in the house after Tryg’s touching performance.
Concert goers thought it couldn’t get any better – but it did! Kyle Elsbernd’s amazing guitar playing and tambourine shoes stomped his way into our hearts! Steven Pease (guitar) & Stage manager, Craig Bergum (stand-up bass), accompanied Kyle and raised the roof on JPAC!
A winner took home a nice cash prize from the second 50/50 raffle and lucky Larry Danks won the meat raffle.
We realized what a family the SDJ is with the concert goers’ embrace of Chris Kohn's original song written for a fellow teacher fighting cancer. Then he took the crowd for a great ride on the "Wagon Wheel". (Dr. Ehrhardt’s new favorite song.)
What you didn't see was Denise Jensen, Kevin D. Leavy, Jane Thompson, Joe Van Rooy, Veronica McMahon, Amanda Werner, and other behind the scenes volunteers to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude.
Periodically throughout the night, a few special guests and I shared stories and reminded the audience of why we were all there. Let those words linger and grab onto them when our students and teachers need us most.