Rock The School House certainly rocked this year as Mounds View Schools Education Foundation celebrated the event’s seventh annual event with a record giving of $80,000. While the money raised supports a broad range of programs in the district, the evening highlighted the school-owned musical instrument program.
The clock struck 8:00pm, as three men in ill-fitting band uniforms tried to play broken instruments. They played to a packed house; the thirty-five candle-lit tables at Vadnais Heights Commons filled with a ready audience of community members. Unbridled, casual laughter blanketed the room as the comedians successfully demonstrated how difficult it is to create lovely music without the proper resources. It was the perfect opener to warm and unify everyone on a cold Minnesota evening.
The three school principals, Todd Durand (Island Lake), Nathan Flansburg (Sunnyside), and Darin Johnson (Turtle Lake), seasoned veterans at this venue, reached the apex of their skit, when a remarkable turn of events startled their audience. The penetrating sounds of brass, woodwinds, and drums cut through the cozy air in stirring synchronicity. Over one hundred musicians of The Irondale Marching Band surrounded the room and marched into the aisles between tables to offer a surprise performance, which produced chills and turned laughter into applause. The messaging was loud and clear: Funding can produce powerful results.
There were plenty of opportunities for guests to marry their giving with entertainment. Rock The School House features an annual auction with opportunities to bid online for the silent auction and participate in the live auction.. A wine and spirits ring toss is open before and after the program.Guests were welcomed this year by rotating ensembles of student musicians, who set the tone for the evening.
The event planning for Rock The Schoolhouse begins year-in-advance. Heather Meyer, MVSEF’s Executive Director and Director of Operations Eric Tell worked closely with the Board of Trustees and Mounds View District Staff to ensure another memorable evening for guests. Auction Curator Amanda DePhillips secured the variety of goods and services up for bid and enhanced this year’s social media presence.
The program is also carefully coordinated to give the guests a better sense of what MVSEF would like to accomplish. This year, Band Director and District Music Curriculum Coordinator Andy Schmidt shared a video featuring student stories and spoke about the value of music and his goals for the district. Emily Engberg, professional auctioneer and local celebrity used her charm and enthusiasm to garne a generous response to “Fund-a-Need”, an invitation to give spontaneously beyond the auction items. In appreciation, Steve Yoch, MVSEF board President, closed the evening with final words, “It was an awesome evening, and we are profoundly grateful to everyone who helped make the event a success.”