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Members of the Kelso High School Music Department will sponsor a two-night Holiday Gala in the Lower Columbia College Rose Center featuring two hours of non-stop music Dec. 13 and 14.

The event is being held to raise money for a student retreat which will include team-building activities and musicianship classes. The retreat is a new “dream” for the music department, said choir booster club member Lannie Sheldahl.

“It’s to get the choir, band and orchestra together as a music department...with the bigger goal of training, camaraderie and building the program to make it great,” Sheldahl said.

Daniel Hartley, district music director, said the retreat will help the music department become a “unified family,” as opposed to several separated musical groups.

Starting at 7 p.m., each musical group will take a turn performing in a “non-stop variety show” for an audience, Hartley said. As one groups completes its performance, another will start in to keep the concert continuous. Lights will shine on each group to direct the audience’s attention to each performance.

“The idea is that there won’t be the usual five-minute transition you’d see at a normal concert,” Hartley said. “It’s more of a (setting) to sit down and enjoy non-stop high school students making beautiful music for the holiday season.”

The concert will be preceded by a craft bazaar, where local vendors will have tables set up in the Rose Center lobby for holiday shopping. Attendees may also shop the bazaar during the concert’s intermission, Hartley said.

The goal is to raise $15,000 in ticket sales and bazaar proceeds so the Instrumental Music Boosters group can fund a retreat next fall. The department hopes to make the gala and retreat an annual event, Hartley said.

“There is about 185 students performing thorough the night, and the benefit is an awesome opportunity for the young people of our community to go on a retreat to improve their musical abilities and their lives,” Hartley said.

The gala will open with the craft bazaar at 5 p.m., and the musical performance will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Eventbrite (see breakout box for website address).

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