Proceeds benefit school cultural arts programs in 24 schools

Last updated: March 01. 2014 7:01PM - 3671 Views
By Jessica Johnson jessicajohnson@civitasmedia.com

The Band of Oz entertains the crowd at Surry Arts Council's Arts Ball on Friday night. Dancers, from left, include Ann Gillespie, Steven Johnson, Steve Scott and Heather Elliot.
The Band of Oz entertains the crowd at Surry Arts Council's Arts Ball on Friday night. Dancers, from left, include Ann Gillespie, Steven Johnson, Steve Scott and Heather Elliot.
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On Friday night at Cross Creek Country Club, a full house enjoyed an evening of dancing to tunes from Band of Oz, a three-course dinner, complete with chocolate cake, and the opportunity to bid on multiple silent auction items, with 100 percent of proceeds going to benefit school cultural arts programs in 24 schools.

Surry Arts Council’s Arts Ball was a success, with 225 tickets sold prior to the event. SAC Executive Director Tanya Jones said the amount of tickets sold set a new record, and Surry Arts Council received the largest number of items for the silent auction with more than 500 items on display around the room. “We had an incredible response from the community, and we are very thankful,” Jones said.

All 24 schools, in Surry County Schools, Mount Airy City Schools and Millennium Charter Academy, donated items for the silent auction, and the 11,000 students who attend the schools will enjoy year-round, free cultural arts programs — both in-school and at the Andy Griffith Playhouse and Historic Earle Theatre. In fact, Jones said the NC Shakespeare Festival will perform “Hamlet” on Monday at the Andy Griffith Playhouse for Mount Airy High School and all Surry County high schools.

Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, who was a greeter at the Arts Ball, said the cultural arts programming provided by Surry Arts Council is “essential to the curriculum,” and is the perfect way to “enhance opportunities through arts.”

“We are bringing multi-cultural experiences in school or at the arts council to our students. This year, we intentionally tried to have more theater experiences by traveling to the Andy Griffith Playhouse and Earle Theatre. We don’t have an auditorium in our schools so this type of programming is essential. We were able to have input into the type of arts programs provided, so we could align it with our curriculum areas and focus on certain age groups. The programs are excellent and our teachers and students love them. We are ecstatic to be here tonight. We want to thank the Surry Arts Council and the community for support,” Reeves said.

Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little, who also served as an Arts Ball greeter, said that the partnership between Mount Airy City Schools and Surry Arts Council is a “model of collaboration.”

“We work together to be able to provide so many great resources that would not be possible otherwise. The cultural enrichment that the arts programs provide for our students are opportunities and memories they will take with them forever. We appreciate the support and so do our students and teachers.”

School cultural arts programs for 2013-2014 included “Teacher from the Black Lagoon” from Theaterworks USA, a company from New York City, who presented seven musical performances at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, based on contemporary children’s books; “Professor Parsnip’s Lab of Healthy Choices” from Bright Star Touring Group, who traveled to B.H. Tharrington Primary School, Jones Intermediate School, Millennium Charter Academy and all Surry County K-5 schools to present an interactive science show; “American Giants of Science” also presented by Bright Star Touring Group who traveled to Mount Airy Middle School, Millennium Charter Academy and all Surry County middle schools to present a celebration of American scientists; the “Nutcracker Ballet” presented by New York Ballet for Young Audiences, performed at the Andy Griffith Playhouse for fourth-grade students; and “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” presented by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre and performed at the playhouse for all six middle schools.

Upcoming productions include “Hamlet” presented by the NC Shakespeare Festival for area high schools; the Winston-Salem Symphony in April at the Historic Earle Theatre for grades three through five, which will incorporate students’ artwork as a backdrop for the symphony; and Jimmy Vipperman’s Traditional Arts Programs, which involves Vipperman teaching fiddle and guitar lessons to classes at Cedar Ridge, White Plains and Jones Intermediate.

Surry Arts Council also hosted Millennium Charter Academy’s student program of “Cinderella,” performances from choral and band students, and Gentry Middle School’s performance of “Peter Pan” this spring. In addition, free movies are shown to hundreds of students each month and more than 1,200 students attended “Polar Express” at the Historic Earle Theatre.

Students also took audio guided tours of the Andy Griffith Museum, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit.

Arts Ball Silent Auction

The numerous silent auction items included not only the items donated from schools, but also items donated from multiple businesses and individuals. Jones said the silent auction this year included more original artwork than it’s ever featured.

Bidding began at noon for the early birds, with several items enjoying early bids, such as the popular meals prepared by local chefs. Almost sold out early in the evening were the Vintage Southern Comfort dinner hosted by Mary Emily and Wayne Cooke; wine and hors d’oeuvres pairings prepared by Chef Chris Wishart, hosted by Julie and John Adams; a Garden and Gun Pavilion Party at Blue View Farm which included trap shooting and a seated dinner; an Indian meal for 26 prepared by Manju Wagner; a multi-course themed dinner party prepared by Chef Chris Wishart at Trio Restaurant and Bar; and heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks with a spring garden tour at Chip Callaway’s Greensboro home.

Other popular items included gift baskets donated by local businesses and gift baskets donated by schools, fresh pies and cakes, tickets to the movie theater, overnight trips and outings, and a window frame table made by Pilot Mountain Elementary School custodian Ricky Palmer, with a painting of Pilot Mountain on the table by Laura Hardy, a tutor at Pilot Mountain Elementary School.

The dinner included passed canapes and tomato-basil bisque, a first course of a salad with poached pears and balsamic vinaigrette, a second course of sliced beef tenderloin and vegetables, and a third course of ultimate chocolate cake.

Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.

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