Empower Youth in the Performing Arts’ most successful fundraiser last year was our partnership with The Park at OWA in Foley, Alabama to provide live musicians for special events. We started in 2018 by providing Christmas carolers and instrumentalists for their Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the weekends leading up to Christmas.
That initial outing was successful enough that they not only invited us back for 2019, but they also asked us to provide a Halloween themed show for the Fall Festival. For six weekends in September and October, the Screamin’ Meemies entertained park goers with three sets each night of ghoulish hits like The Monster Mash and Love Potion Number Nine.
The inaugural edition of the Screamin’ Meemies included Asia Smith, Morgan Seip, Monica Webb, Timothy Griffin, Ken Austin (SW ’81), Richard Coarsey, Jerry Pugh, Daniel Thomas and Dr. Laura Moore.
This year, the Christmas music included caroling quartets that strolled through the park and the shopping area, brass quintets that played short concerts at various locations throughout the property, and a solo jazz saxophonist who stood near the entrance to serenade visitors as they arrived.
This year’s carolers were Asia Smith, Morgan Seip, Monica Webb, Dr. Laura Moore, Timothy Griffin, Austin Young, Chance Dorsey, Ken Austin (’81), Brit Taylor, and Jan Zuercher.
The brass quintets that participated this year were the Azalea City Brass Quintet [Kyle Brookins (SW ’15, ’16), Brett Fabacher, Bethany Driggers, Destiny Miskel, and Timothy Taldon] and another brass quintet consisting of musicians Dalton Horne, Michael Baxter (SW ’14), Destin Hinkel, Erick Wicklund, and Emma Brown.
Our musicians’ backgrounds ranged from undergraduate music majors at the University of South Alabama to advanced members of local community ensembles like the Mobile Opera Chorus and the Eastern Shore Choral Society. All of them did an excellent job representing our organization, and we really appreciate their efforts in helping us grow.
It looks like our role in 2020 might be even larger. We’ve been asked to provide a five piece Dixieland band to perform during the weekends in February to help promote OWA’s new Mardi Gras parade, and we are going to present proposals for Fourth of July and Memorial Day in addition to existing Halloween and Christmas engagements.