MARCO ISLAND — The dinner music at "Boogie and Blues," the annual fundraising gala for Marco Island Charter Middle School, was courtesy of two student ensembles, as well as one science teacher at the school. The MICMS Jazz Band led off, followed by the MICMS Starz, the choral group at the school.
Nearly 30 musicians, heavy on the brass, took the stage for the jazz band's set, under the direction of band teacher Martha Miller. They played a series of numbers very familiar to devotees of classic rock radio stations, including "Oye Como Va" by Santana, "Light My Fire" by the Doors, the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love," and Credence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," along with "Ants in the Pants" and "Baby Elephant Walk."
The students' parents could hear that, whatever else their children are learning, the musical aspect of their education is progressing nicely, as the band produced a great sound for a very young group of musicians. Elisha Maxwell on the piano was a standout, and already knows he wants to major in music, said Miller. Kelsey Taylor played a baritone sax
Next up, while the sellout crowd of 170 dined on chicken piccata, prepared scallopini style over angel hair pasta, was the Starz. Filling the dance floor in Santa hats, the high energy singers performed a "holiday mash-up" they called "A Song of Santa." MICMS chorus teacher Karen Raymond directed.
Various students came to the microphone to take on vocal solos or duets, with Ellen Angerbach opening the choral portion of the show. Kamryn Bertrand and Hannah Scott, and then Natalie Halbuer followed, with duets on "Old Mr. Kringle."
For the finale of the evening's entertainment, MICMS science teacher Mary Jo O'Regan appeared onstage in a very different light from her typical role. Accompanied by her husband Mike O'Regan, Mary Jo, who performs every Saturday night at Paddy Murphy's in Naples, which the couple owns, invited the guests to "forget the blues" with her vocals. O'Regan also featured a pair of students, Laurie Lynn O'Sullivan – "totally coincidental she's Irish," said Mary Jo – and Ethan Dorestin, in her act.
In addition to the musical aspect of the evening, the fundraising component was visible in a silent and live auction. The auction boasted 138 items, but only three were auctioned off live. These included private designated parking spaces at the school, which of course come with major bragging rights, and a "fishbowl" containing items donated by community members, starting off with a night in the penthouse at the Hilton, that normally goes for $1,500.
Event co-chair Heidi Moss coordinated the auction, while co-chair and MICMS school board VP Lisa Meurgue oversaw the dinner. MICMS athletic director Roger Raymond was in charge of the entertainment.
Another special auction item, pointed out by MICMS principal George Abounader, was a set of benches, handmade and painted by members of the MICMS family. Student Adai Multidor painted one in a vivid sunset motif.
"This is a great turnout, and great music," said Abounader. "An evening like this goes a long way toward building relationships with our families and the community."
Board president Tarik Ayasun, serving for the 15th year despite never having had a child attend the school, thanked the organizers. "Heidi and Lisa did a great job," he said.
Heidi Moss gave credit to her daughter, MICMS eighth grader Katie Moss, who she said was an invaluable assistant. Last year the event raised $18,000, said Heidi, and they hoped to match or exceed that figure this year.