Alex Quigley, a junior at Rondout Valley High School who plays alto sax, sorely missed the field trips, music festivals, competitions and other extracurricular activities that he had enjoyed as a freshman: victims of school district budget cuts. He felt especially bad for this year’s freshmen who missed out on extracurricular activities that had proved so valuable to him. As a member of the National Honor Society, he was required to do a volunteer project, so he decided to organize a benefit concert, donating all proceeds to the school Music Department.
“Music for a Change” will be held on June 3 at Tongore Park, the pleasant creekside recreational grounds in Marbletown. Quigley succeeded in attracting quite a lineup: the Saints of Swing, Doraine Scofield and Friends, Jacks R Wild and the Augmented Four, with special guest Roswell Rudd, the internationally known avant-garde trombone player. The Rondout High Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Rondout High Jazz Band will also perform, demonstrating the value of all those “extras” in the Music Department. (Quigley will be performing in the Jazz Choir and Band; he’s also in the School Band and Choir.)
Quigley got help from fellow musician Max Forsythe, also a junior at the school. He was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic response that he got from the professional musicians whom he approached. For example, Dave Winograd, the bass player in the Saints of Swing, whom Quigley has known since middle school, immediately said “Yes.” Rudd was in Italy when Quigley e-mailed his agent, but also promptly replied in the affirmative; the trombonist has donated instruments to the school.
Besides the music, the event, scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m., will offer activities for kids, such as face-painting and games. Food, refreshments and discount cards for local businesses will be available, and there’ll be raffles and tee-shirts for sale. Admission is by donation.
The concert is being presented by the Rondout Valley High School Music Boosters, the volunteer fundraising organization for the school’s Music Department. Many of its members are the parents of seniors, who after graduation will leave the organization much diminished. Quigley said that he hopes that the benefit concert will inspire the upcoming generation to step in and possibly take on the concert as an annual event. If you’re interested in helping out, contact Quigley at (845) 687-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.