published Friday, May 6th, 2011

Ringgold band gets by with a little help from musical friends

IF YOU GO

What: “Puttin’ on the Ritz” dinner dance and silent auction.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Catoosa County Colonnade, Ringgold, Ga.

Admission: $30.

Phone: 706-935-6258 (reservations recommended).

Website: www.ringgoldband.org.


SPRING CONCERT CANCELED

The Ringgold Bands’ spring concert, which was scheduled for Thursday at the Northwest Georgia Bank Amphitheatre, has been canceled.

Equipment trailers were destroyed by last week’s tornado and instruments are inaccessible, but the show will go on Saturday for the Ringgold, Ga., Tiger Band.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a dinner dance and silent auction at the Catoosa County Colonnade, will be held as scheduled, if not exactly as planned.

David Lequire, who handles media relations for the Ringgold Bands program, said rather than the Ringgold Middle and High schools’ Jazz Bands performing, other community ensembles will step up.

Set to play are cross-county rivals Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Heritage high schools, as well as an ensemble from Georgia State.

“We were going to have to cancel,” Lequire said. “Then joy of joys, Mr. [Blair] Callaway at Heritage and Mr. [Rich] Stichler at LFO offered to help. We were overwhelmed.”

“Puttin’ on the Ritz” is the band’s second-largest annual fundraiser, typically adding $18,000 to $25,000 to the program’s $180,000 budget, Lequire said. Money raised through dinner tickets and auction bids is used to pay for music for the upcoming year.

Normally, students in the high-school jazz band serve dinner while the middle-school jazz band performs. Then the high-school musicians take the stage.

This year, the Ringgold students will devote their attention to keeping dinner and the auction running smoothly while fellow musicians deliver their measures of kindness.

Lequire said all of the Ringgold band members (180 in high school, 140 in middle school) “were all OK, thank goodness,” though some suffered the loss of extended family members or damage to homes. And storm-related trauma has been felt communitywide.

“We’re still picking up the pieces,” Lequire said. “It’s been a really emotional time.”

Which is why being able to continue with the show is so important for these kids, he said. Saturday will be a day to help restore their equilibrium.

“We can all be together,” he said, “and try to get back to normal.”

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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