Talent shines at Bell’s
Evening of the Arts
By Jesse Gray
What a great way to start off the weekend with an elegant, “Evening of the Arts” developed by the Bell Band and its sponsors. The event took place on February 5 at 6:30 p.m., consisting of multiple performances ranging from middle school participants to the band director herself. The theme of this year’s annual dinner theater was Mardi Gras. Held in the Bell Elementary Cafeteria, the room was elaborately decorated in purple, green and gold. Following dinner, band members presented a mystery skit titled “The Mardi Gras Mask.” Many Gilchrist County residents attended the event. Funds raised through sponsors who donated money and ticket sales will go toward new uniforms for the band.
Lisa Boutwell opened the show by saying,
“Let the good times roll!” in French.
The BES cafeteria was transformed into a New Orleans French Quarter, decorated with numerous balloons, glitter and beads to accent the evening. Lisa Boutwell, one of the Band Boosters, greeted the audience as a colorful and humorous jester. Every guest who walked in was introduced to the theme with beaded necklaces. A French evening background lined the walls to portray a fancy ballroom. Purple, green, and gold backgrounds on either side of the cafeteria were used for band members to alternate their performances.
The evening was introduced by the Bell Jazz Band performing “Georgia on My Mind” followed by the 6th Grade Band playing “Mexican Hat Dance.” Other amazing performances included Alyssa Branning playing “Five Bagatelles” by Finzie on clarinet and the Euphonium Trio (Dylan Kaczor, Ashley Neese, and Braxton Railey) who performed “Renaissance Ballade” by Palestrina. The band director, Sara DiPardo played her own amazing piece, “Rag Time Bonanza” on baritone and the Flag Auxiliary (Victoria Ryan, Megan Sites, Michelle Speck, Carson Stewart, and Katie Welton) did a routine to “Wake Up” by Hilary Duff. Dinner was received during the performances in an orderly manner, going table by table. The delicious menu reflected a New Orleans flavor consisting of king crab cakes, bourbon chicken, Jambalaya, green beans, salad, rolls and a variety of desserts. Julie Thomas provided the catering with her business, Simply Delightful Inc. Middle school band members did a great job assisting the audience, keeping up with filling drinks and serving the desserts.
The mysterious play, “The Mardi Gras Mask” was narrated by Lisa Boutwell and became extremely entertaining with a few humorous parts. The plot of the story is set in the ballroom of the Iberville Mansion during the annual Mardi Gras Ball, on the 100th anniversary of a murder that took place in the same room. Legend has it that the departed spirit will seek revenge that very night. The characters in the skit were dressed formal, with the girls in elegant gowns. Mrs. Lorraine Miqel played by Kayla Gurule was the superstitious character, taking all evidence of a possible spirit being around and believing it. Mr. Willelm Miqel played by Timothy Griffith ended up being the culprit behind the mystery. Towards the ending of the play, it was hysterical to find out Rick Reed, the principal of Bell High was included in the drama when Officer Stoel (Thomas Waldron) brought him out of the crowd and arrested him. Another comedic fact is that all of the characters’ names were directed toward certain people in Gilchrist County and the school, such as Colonel Bradford Surray representing Bell High teacher, Brad Surrency and Mr. Donat Tome’ as Superintendent Don Thomas. The students who performed in the skit did a phenomenal job, seeing that they were only able to rehearse four times before the actual event.
The cafeteria was completely full during the dinner and entertainment. About 200 people attended the event, including County Commissioners and School Board Members. Ms. Iris Roberts attended as well.
Band Director Sara Dispardo would like to thank all boosters and alumni who made the event possible as well as all who sponsored and attended. The money raised at the dinner theater will further be invested in new band uniforms and equipment. New uniforms for which used to cost around $400 have now heightened to $600 a uniform, therefore any money donated was greatly appreciated.