Equating their auditorium to the living room of a home where people gather to meet, exchange ideas, learn and be entertained, students, faculty, administrators and supporters of John Muir Middle School welcomed more than 600 guests to join them to raise funds to modernize their "living room" this past Saturday.
Presented as "The Really Big Show," last week's fundraiser saw supporters welcomed to a VIP reception hosted by Muir Principal Greg Miller and his three predecessors, Bruce Osgood, Dan Hacking and John Paramo.
Among the special guests in attendance were City Councilman Gary Bric, School Board members Larry Applebaum, Roberta Reynolds and Charlene Tabet and representatives from Burbank Business Partners — Lisa Rawlins with Warner Bros., Alethia Calagias with Logix Federal Credit Union, Cynthia Wagner with Cynthia Wagner Social Media and Carson Smith with Nickelodeon, which kicked-off the school's goal of raising $120,000 by donating the first $1,000.
The event, which included live and silent auctions, featured performances by choirs, bands, dance troupes and drama departments from Burbank High School and Muir as well as the Muir Mortals, comprised of faculty members Eric Blinder, Ted DeVirgilis, Glen Jaffe, Lydia Lee, Robert Lee, Steven Moos, Barry Sarna, Heidi Sasaki and Rebecca Southward.
In an evening filled with performance highlights, perhaps nothing topped the Muir Mortals' cover of Lady Gaga's "Applause," which included boa-adorned cameos by Miller, Osgood, Hacking and Paramo.
Among the task force and committee members who put together Saturday's event were Jennifer Audette, Andy Batwinas, Craig Ball, Karen Broderick, Catherine Celaya, Heather Fishman, Peggy Flynn, David Guyer, Michele Harris, Alexandra Helfrich, Stephen James, Kenny Knoop, Derrick Kolus, Pam Paterra and Suzanne Snell.
Others whose work and participation made for a successful evening that was projected to raise more than $20,000 were John Audette, Charlie Paakkari, Charles Rodriguez, Charles Sydnor, Estee Carrisoza, Brett Carroll, Brooks and Ann Gardener, John Snell, Michael Stanley and Kevin Zambrano.
Campaign organizers hope to reach their fundraising goals and begin work by 2016. The proposed modernizations to the auditorium include replacing lighting grids and carpeting, establishment of a donors' tile wall in the lobby with tiles created by supporters and an upgrade of the facility's sound and projection systems.
To accomplish this, Logix Federal Credit Union presented a check for $1,000, Burbank Arts for All Foundation has donated more than $5,000, and Warner Bros. has committed to a $10,000 matching grant. For information about how you can support the project, call (818) 558-5320.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.