By STEVEN NALLEY
Mary Kate Hughes is in two of the musical acts lined up for the Starkville School District’s Music on the Green Thursday.
Hughes, a senior at Starkville High School, is not only part of a Starkville Community Theatre contingent slated to perform but also part of the SHS Madrigals. Music on the Green will be the SHS Madrigals’ first public stage performance of the year, she said, but she believes the Madrigals are ready.
“We’re definitely confident,” Hughes said. “We’re always prepared to perform whatever (SHS Choral Director Regina) Weeks puts in front of us, and we’re excited about people seeing it.”
The Starkville Foundation for Public Education will present its third annual Music on the Green today from 5-8 p.m. at Overstreet School, offering live music and food to the community as a fundraiser for SFPE’s scholarships and grants.
Tickets are free for children under 5 years old and cost $1 for older children and $2 for adults. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets or picnic baskets, and they can also purchase pizza, soft drinks and snow cones at the event.
Musical guests include local acts El Rio Trio and Hard Luck Chuck, as well as the SHS Singers and Starkville Community Theatre cast members performing selections from their “Unplugged” summer musical revue. SHS assistant choral director Joel Barron said the SHS singers’ musical selection includes two songs from the TV show “Glee” called “Lucky” and “Just the Way You Are.” He said it also includes “Java Jive,” a 1940s-era big band song. Hughes said she is looking forward to performing at the event.
“It’s always very enjoyable,” Hughes said. “Especially in this autumn weather, it’s always nice to perform music and associate with the community in a really nice environment.”
SFPE president Doug Bedsaul said the entire community, not just SSD students and families, is invited, including college students. In addition to the food and music, he said, face painting booths will also be available, and children will have the chance to arm-wrestle Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man.
When the SFPE created Music on the Green three years ago, Bedsaul said, it was looking to create not only a new fundraising avenue, but also a family-friendly event and a place to share a vision for the SSD. Each year has yielded new lessons, improved atmosphere and monetary success, he said, and the SFPE is hoping for an even better event this year.
“We have a few other fundraisers that go along throughout the year, but they’re more mail-in and teacher donation programs that go along throughout the year, not actual events,” Bedsaul said. “(Music on the Green) is the only fundraising event we have. We have (an annual) fundraising goal of $35,000, which is an increase from last year. So far, we’ve managed to pass every goal that we’ve set for ourselves.”
All of the funds SFPE raises return to the SSD, Bedsaul said. For instance, he said, SFPE is one of several contributors to Sudduth Elementary School’s forthcoming Friendship Playground, which accommodates students with special needs.
“Our funds go back to the SSD in two ways,” Bedsaul said. “One is for scholarships for graduating seniors. The other is for teacher grants, for money they can use in their classroom to provide innovative instruction techniques. Sometimes, that involves new technology; other times, that involves joining up to a nationwide instructional program (where the SSD teachers) need more materials.”