Rock the School House 2018 Recap
Rock The School House certainly rocked this year as Mounds View Schools Education Foundation [MVSEF] celebrated the event’s seventh annual year with a record giving of $80,000. This is a rare event where the community comes together for education advocacy. The money supports a broad range of programs, but 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 and live. A mobile bidding station offers assistance to anyone who needs it, and the auction closes in tiers for easy monitoring. A wine and spirits ring toss is open before and after the program, and all wine and gifts are gathered and organized for each person to receive at the end of the evening. Guests were welcomed this year by rotating groups of student musicians who provided a warm ambience for cocktails, the buffet dinner, and perusal of the auction display tables.
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 JoAnne Messerly to coordinate the catering and site preparations. Auction Curator Amanda DePhillips secured the variety of goods and services up for bid. 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. The MC, Twin Cities Live reporter Emily Engberg, garnered 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.”