By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff
If you have seen the high school of late you have probably noticed the renovation near the auditorium.
West Bend High School Athletes for the Arts welcomes you to the grand opening of the new Silver Lining Arts Center on Wednesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. Award-winning Milwaukee rock band I’m Not a Pilot will headline the performance, and members from the high school orchestra and band will join them for several songs.
Athletes for the Arts is a collection of athletes from both East and West who are committed to helping the arts.
Orchestra teacher Josh Zallar has recognized the group’s efforts. “Athletes for the Arts has done a lot in terms of planning for the event, help marketing it, and getting posters made. They have done a lot of the administrative business side of what is needed for any concert or performance,” Zallar said.
“Athletes for the Arts raised money originally to bring the band in and also for marketing,” said Athletes for the Arts member Annika Engstrom, West senior. “Right now I have a bunch of posters in my locker that need to be hung up around the school.”
Engstrom and other members are trying to pay back the money needed for the renovation. “Every dollar we sell in tickets is profit and all that money is going towards the gap in the auditorium. A quarter of a million gap that hasn’t been paid for yet and our goal is to try and close that gap and pay for the whole thing,” Engstrom said.
High school violinist Hazel Benton will play a key role in the performance. “I’m first chair so I’m one of the section leaders and if they get lost they follow me,” the East senior said. According to Benton, attendees can expect to see “members of the chamber orchestra and sinfonia orchestra and about 10 of the band members and adult outside members that come in and help.”
According to the band’s website, I’m Not a Pilot is dedicated to music education.
“On March 17 the cellist from the band (Peter Thomas) came and did an electric cello demo and showed off his cello with looped pedal and a pod for crazy effects similar to an electric guitar. On March 20 he was there along with the piano player from the band (Mark Glatzel) and we ran through four or five of the tunes,” Zallar said. He said joy swept throughout the auditorium. “The kids were really, really excited.”
The performance has a couple of goals. “One is to celebrate the grand opening of the auditorium with a special performance to get it kick-started, and the other goal is to raise money for the auditorium project and finish paying for it,” Zallar said.
There is another side and purpose as well. “As a teacher and from the kids’ perspective, the purpose of the concert is to have fun and learn from the music and the experience,” Zallar said.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. They can be purchased online, at the WBHS bookkeeper’s office, the district office, Horicon Bank, Westbury Bank, and the Exclusive Company.
(Photograph by Emily Aamodt, Current Staff.)