Instead of just the typical candy bar or Joe Corbi’s pizza sales as fundraisers, Kennett High’s spring musical Director Tom Burke decided to bring more meaning to it.
The musicals are funded through ticket sales and student activity fees and with the success the program has had over the last six years, Burke decided to have the students find a theme in the show and put it toward a fundraiser.
“We wanted to have something of meaning,” Burke said. “This was our first fundraiser. We’re just starting to look out for community support and where we can go with that so we don’t have to just sell Joe Corbi’s and sell merchandise.”
For this year’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” the students came up with the idea of the characters finding their voices and self-expression, especially that of Rose Alvarez.
So to go off that, the “One Rose One Voice” fundraiser began.
At each of the four shows put on by the students from April 3 through 5, fiber-optic roses were sold in the lobby before the show and during intermission for $5.
At the end of the production, a special scene was included where the audience who purchased a rose could participate to tie everything together.
Also unique in the way they fundraise is that the students don’t put all the money back into the program and, instead, give a portion of it to those in need.
“It’s better than just having to go out and sell stuff,” Burke said. “We’re just trying a different approach in a different age and thinking outside the box.”
This year’s “One Rose One Voice” campaign was decided to, once again, tie a theme in. With Rose crashing a Shriner’s meeting near the end of the play, the fundraiser would also support the Shriner’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The hospital is known for their work with children afflicted with a cleft lip or cleft palate and a place where a multidisciplinary team of experts tirelessly work to improve a child’s ability to breathe, eat and communicate.
Once all was said and done, roughly 400 roses were sold over the three days, equating to about $2,000 being shared between the program and the Shriner’s Hospital.
The idea and actual fundraiser was such a hit with the students that Burke would like to see this become a tradition for years to come.
“We need to keep it going and the funds to keep going,” Burke said. “In terms of the theme itself going? Absolutely. We’ll always try to find something that is resonating within the musical or show that we can find an element to teach with and an element to fundraise with.”