Elks Give Major Gift For R-IX Kids To Make Music


Music teachers Rhonda Applegate at South School, and Lydia Schockmann, at North, came up with the idea of entering their fourth and fifth grade choir students in the Music in the Parks Music Festival. It will take place at Silver Dollar City, Branson, on April 27. It is the first time the schools have taken part in the competition, and it is possible after fundraising by South School parent Michelle White, and generous donations from The Benton County Elks and other organizations.

“When the music teachers came up with the idea to do this, they found that it would cost $4,200 for all the kids to go and they needed to raise funds,” said White. “My daughter Brookelynn decided that I wouldn’t mind doing the fundraising. So, I reached out to businesses telling them that the kids in the community want to do this and it would be their first time going. Stephanie Anderson, Exalted Ruler of the Benton County Elks, is a friend of mine and I asked her how to get help from the Elks. She told me to come make a presentation to the board, and I asked Brookelynn to make the presentation and answer questions.”

Anderson said that Brookelynn made her presentation to some officers of the Benton County Elks Board on February 19. Board members included Stephanie Anderson, Brett Powell, Bob Waters, Genia Townsend, Marilee Carman and Brenda Michael. She said that $1,240 was raised from the lodge as well as individual member donors.

“The Chorus needed $100 per child for travel, meals and entrance to Silver Dollar city,” said Anderson. “The Elks donation was presented to the Chorus on March 12.”

Michelle White said that the competition is a national thing and anyone from close to Branson can compete. She said that after their performance, the Chorus will spend time in the park until it is time to show up to the stage for the competition results.

“Besides going to the park, it is a good experience for the kids to see the competitors and competitions,” said White. “The choir groups are all doing different things and it will open doors for them. My daughter wants to listen to hip-hop and other types of music. Brooklyn did a great job of her presentation to the Elks. Many other organizations also helped the choir. Her grandfather encourages her and his other grandchildren to reach out to the community."