Take a journey across America and support a good cause

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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As the pandemic has held many back from traveling the past few years, folks have a chance to experience the sights, sounds and tastes from across the country without leaving Suffolk.

The Suffolk Education Foundation is holding its seventh annual gala from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on March 16, at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront, 100 E. Constance Road.

The Suffolk Education Foundation’s annual Gala in Celebration of the Arts provides an opportunity for the community to support the music, theater and visual arts programs in Suffolk Public Schools. Over the years, this event has returned more than $40,000 to the fine arts programs that share their talents during the event.

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“The Suffolk Education Foundation is a staunch supporter of all arts in Suffolk Public Schools,” said Dr. Joleen Neighbours, supervisor of fine and performing arts for Suffolk Public Schools. “We are grateful for their continued help and service for our students and teachers.”

The theme for this year’s gala is “American Road Trip.” Folks can enjoy music performed by the Northern Shores Elementary School Chorus, Nansemond River High School Jazz Band, John Yeates Middle School Chorus, King’s Fork High School Orchestra, John Yeates Middle School Jazz Band and King’s Fork High School Chorus as they play songs that highlight highways, cities, states, landmarks and natural beauty across America. Song selections could include “My Shot” from Hamilton, “Georgia on My Mind,” “Take Me Home Country Roads,” “New York New York,” “Route 66” and “Dancing in the Streets.”

Folks will also be able to see the sites as they view displays of original artwork from elementary, middle and high school students.

“Suffolk Public Schools’ young artists, musicians, and performers are the best of the best,” said Neighbours. “It is always exciting to be able to promote SPS fine and performing arts programs to our community.”

Ticket prices include a taste of America for dinner with a Southwestern-style dinner of boneless beef ribs and bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp. There will also be a cash bar.

Be sure to leave room for dessert, as the culinary art students from the College & Career Academy at Pruden will provide desserts from across the country for sampling and auction. There will be selections like apple pie cheesecake for New York, peanut butter cheesecake for Virginia, key lime cheesecake for Florida, and possibly macadamia nut and pineapple cheesecake to celebrate Hawaii.

“The arts in Suffolk Public Schools are embarking on a new path with the opening of The Center for Performance and Production Arts,” said Neighbours. “A focus on being a working artist as part of the ‘5 C’s of 21st Century Learning’ is at the forefront of arts education in Suffolk. The connections that the arts have as part of daily life is emphasized, and the Suffolk Education Foundation embraces the idea of students being given the tools to work in the arts. Events like the Gala give students the opportunity to showcase that desire to work as an artist.”

Dressy attire is encouraged. Tickets are $45 a person, and a table for eight is $325. Purchase tickets online at suffolkeducationfoundation.org/gala-for-the-arts-in-sps or contact suffolkEF.contact@gmail.com or call 757-237-3249.