By Jennifer Raye
Meridian Times staff writer
OKEMOS — The Taste of Okemos, which had more than 450 people attending, raised more than $6,200 for the Okemos Public Schools choirs on Oct. 29 at Okemos High School.
The 12th annual Taste of Okemos, a fundraiser solely supporting the Okemos Middle School and High School choirs, was a huge success, said Deb Borton-McDonough, director of choirs at Okemos High School.
This year’s fundraiser raised $200 more than last year and had the largest ticket sales, more than 450, since it started in 1999. Past years’ ticket sales were about 300-400.
The event invited more than 20 vendors from the East Lansing and Okemos area, including: Buffalo Wild Wings of East Lansing, Coffee and Friends Café of Okemos and Stillwater Grill of Okemos. “Our goal is to connect businesses here in Okemos with the high school. We’re all part of this community and we’re bringing them together for a good cause,” said David Mackson, manager and organizer of the event.
This is the only event in Okemos Public Schools where proceeds go directly to the Okemos choirs. The schools have six choirs between them.
The budget for school activities has been decreasing and especially for the choirs in both the middle school and high school. The choir program is given about $600-$700 for the school year. The money is spent on expanding the music library, cleaning choir robes, transportation and tuning pianos. “Thousands of dollars is spent on the music library alone,” Borton-McDonough said.
Rick Howard, an Okemos High School committee member said, “This event gives her the opportunity to buy new music. They have the chance to sing new music. Each song costs about $130 alone.”
Choir students were the main volunteers at the event. With more than 130 students in the choirs, they set up, decorated, served food and cleaned up.
The junior and seniors members are also planning a trip to Chicago in the winter. The Someko singers, one of the high school choirs, will be preforming throughout the Greater Lansing Area from now until New Years.