Bebops and bobby socks will fill the Chapel Hill High School gymnasium Saturday as community members jump and jive for a cause at the school’s 18th annual Silent Auction and Swing Dance.
The community function, which benefits the band program, has grown over the years and draws dancers of all ages and skill levels. The student band members transform the gym into a speakeasy with live swing music and costumed dancers.
Attend the swing
When: Saturday, 7-11 p.m.
Location: Chapel Hill High School
More info: http://chhs.chccs.k12.nc.us/
Participants get into the spirit of the night, donning flapper dresses and feathers or poodle skirts and saddle shoes to embody the 1920-50’s dance era.
The event will also feature a professional swing dance instructor who will teach the guests the basics of swing dance and walk them through various moves.
“It’s like the prom for the artsy kids,” said parent volunteer Chis Grobin. “It’s their chance to get dressed up and dance with all their friends.”
The band students have been preparing for this event for four months and are eager to watch the community dance along to their tunes. They will play continuously for several hours — performing more than 45 selections of big band swing music throughout the event.
To add variety to the night, Chapel Hill High School’s choir department has joined the show — broadening the repertoire of the two programs. Fifteen student vocalists will be singing songs in the traditional crooner style throughout the night, sending the audience back in time.
All are invited to rock around the clock and to bid on the silent auction items, which in the past have included gift certificates and various college memorabilia. Local businesses and restaurants have donated their goods and services to the silent auction in support of the growing band program in Chapel Hill.
“Yes, this is a fundraiser — but that’s not why I do it,” said CHHS band director John Carmichael.
“I do it because it’s unique and these are memories that everybody wants.”
The event aims to gives students the chance to perform beyond the classroom or concert hall. Instead of playing for an audience, students will be playing for the dancers, which puts their work into a social context and links it directly to the community.
“It is inspiring to see the students parlay their craft — in this case their music — into a very popular event that is enjoyed by the community and raises money to continue the work of the band program,” said Jeff Nash, spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
“This is truly the place to be on Saturday night.”
Carmichael said there’s no reason to stay home and miss the event.
“We’re even airing the Carolina-Duke game in the lobby,” he said.
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