by REAGAN MOTSINGER and ERIN CLARK
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Nov. 29, 2018) - Minutes before the start of the show, musicians and members of the Dance Marathon committee gathered as the Morale co-chairs briefly explained Dance Marathon’s purpose in the hopes of hyping participants up before the battle began. This would be the third Battle of the Bands: a night packed full of energy, excitement and music, all in promotion of the final event of the year.
“Battle of the Bands helps us raise money and spread the word about the event,” Morale member Loryn Fry (9) said. “We talk about the actual Dance Marathon at Battle of the Bands, so it’s a fun event to get people excited and give people a taste of how high-energy and how fun the actual Dance Marathon is gonna be.”
The event may have only lasted a short two to three hours, but it required weeks of planning to successfully execute.
“We had a few meetings beforehand where we coordinated how things were gonna go and who was gonna do what game and who was gonna bring in what stuff,” Fry said. “We spent so much time decorating the auditorium and rehearsing and getting everything ready for the actual show.”
While the club’s sponsoring teachers and participants were influential in planning the event, it all came down to the last moments before the event began.
“We got all the Morale Committee members that were there helping out and all the bands together, and just said ‘Thank you for coming, we really appreciate it,’” Morale co-chair Grace Bieghler (12) said. “All the hard work that we put in for months in advance came together at that moment, right before we went on stage, having everybody in the same place, so that was probably the coolest part of it.”
After the opening of the show, things managed to get even crazier for Morale members also playing in a band.
“Backstage I had to have everything organized and ready to go,” Beighler said. “I had certain cues that I had to listen to throughout the show to know when I had to be in what outfit, when to go back onstage, so it was pretty crazy. But, at the end, I think it made the whole thing more rewarding, because I saw the Morale side of things and the band side of things. I got a full-encompassing experience of the whole Battle of the Bands event.”
This experience was even more memorable due to the relationships forged as a result of participating in the event, either as a committee member or as a member of a band.
“I loved working with the Morale team,” Katy Zaloudek (12) said. “We all became closer friends since we all didn’t really know each other beforehand. It’s nice to see everyone come together and form those relationships that we’ll have in February for the marathon itself.”
Though Battle of the Bands raised $2,835 for Dance Marathon’s end-of-the-year total, Zaloudek still emphasizes the importance of continuing to raise money and spread the word.
“Everybody talks about Riley Hospital for Kids and all the good they do in the community,” Zaloudek said. “But they really do change the experience that these families have. They make such a terrible situation into something more livable, something that their families can get through. If we can help in any way, like ten dollars that a student raises on Teamraiser, that can be a meal for a Riley family. Such small amounts can add up to so much.”
The hard work, donating, and fundraising all finally come together during the main event itself, the marathon on Feb. 15.
“Honestly, that night in February is so magical,” Bieghler said. “Everybody comes together, everyone is decked out in their color group gear, there’s so much energy, and it is such a happy and excited environment. It honestly feels like a huge party, six hours long, high energy until the very end. It is a beautiful, come-together moment, and when they hold the total up, it’s so magical. Come out, it’s an incredible night.”