Paying for music education isn’t cheap.
In fact, the 2017 Mahomet-Seymour Marching band performance cost $30,000 after music rights, extra staff, drill and travel were taken into account.
But because music education is so important to the Mahomet-Seymour environment, programs like the M-S Music Boosters exist to offset costs that allow the music department to provide opportunities for students.
Alongside events like Dawgapalooza, the Music Boosters relied on a marching band competition which was held as a fundraiser in October for 20 years.
After a few consecutive years of disappointing competitions where bands complained about field conditions, Music Boosters decided to re-evaluate the fundraiser.
“Everyone who has (a band competition) now has astroturf fields, better facilities, better parking,” Mahomet-Seymour Band Director Michael Stevens said. “We thought, okay, once word gets out that we can’t really handle this anymore, no one will come. We would be wasting our time.”
“So we canned it.”
“That was a substantial amount of money that we brought in for Music Boosters,” Stevens said. “There’s a big hole there now financially.”
After hearing about a successful 24-hour musical fundraiser that was hosted at Jacobs High School in Algonquin, Illinois, Stevens proposed that the Music Boosters take on its own 24-hour musical as a fundraiser in 2018.
“It included a lot of students, parents and corporate support,” Stevens said.
The Music Boosters are hoping to bring the Mahomet-Seymour community together in the same way as they host their first 24-hour musical at 7 p.m. on January 6.
Stevens and Assistant Choral Director Nicole Kuglich are co-producing the musical. Kuglich will also direct the play.
Stevens will work with students in the pit alongside Assistant Band Director Philip Meyer. Choral Director Jill Rinkel will work as the Music Director, teaching the songs and providing vocal coaching to all of the singers. Meyer is also responsible for props and scenery.
Stevens said he is excited to work with the other members of the music department as they work through all of the unexpected twists and turns of this first musical.
“Probably for the first time, other than just some small things over the years, this is probably the first time we’ve all worked together towards a project,” Stevens said. “Because we share kids back and forth, it is a very give and take relationship on both sides. And it will be fun to work with them.”
Students auditioned for a part in the “mystery” play the week before finals began in December. Stevens said each performer had to perform a song and a monologue, although they did not know what part they were auditioning for.
“It’s an intriguing concept to audition without knowing the show or what character you might portray,” Rinkel said. “It will be a challenge to learn an entire show in 24 hours but I know it will be fun for all of us to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.”
As students come back to school on January 5, the Music Boosters will host a dinner for the 60-70 cast, crew and pit members, who will learn their role in the production.
While some cast members will stay all night, others with smaller roles will only have to stay part of the night.
Parents have volunteered to chaperone and provide food for the students overnight.
“I think the thing that I find the most exciting about this idea is the uncertainty of it all,” Kuglich said. “I’ve directed many shows throughout my career, but never attempted anything like this! I’m excited to see how quickly the students can learn, how much they can retain, and how they’ll think on their feet as they’re performing.”
The Mahomet-Seymour School District helped the Music Boosters offset the cost of the rights to perform the musical. Stevens said with this contribution, the boosters might have a chance to come out on top during this first production.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at https://mshsdrama.booktix.com/.
“We hope to build strong ties with the kids during this time,” Stevens said. “It’s going to be a novelty. It’s not going to be polished, there will be areas in the show that I’m sure will just be crazy, but that’s half the fun of the experience.”
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