Performers Support Local Charity

Mary Kate Engstrom

Since 2007, Miramonte students have taken the stage performing for charitable causes in the biannual Performers for Progress show. On April 21 and 22, the seventh show will take place supporting Helping By Any Dreams Necessary.

Performers for Progress was founded by Emilyn Kowaleski and Madeline Vann in 2007 and has been passed down throughout the years to students involved in the performing arts at Miramonte. This year’s co-chairs, Rachel Cook and Jacqueline Garell, have participated in drama and choir classes since their freshman years and both have performed in previous Performers for Progress shows.

After months of searching for a charity they were compelled to support, Garrell and Cook chose Helping By Any Dreams Necessary, an Oakland-based charity that funds music and art classes for schools who can’t afford them.

“I’m excited we’re doing a local charity this year. A lot of the schools around here aren’t as privileged as we are so I’m hoping that students will want to give other kids the opportunity to take the amazing electives we get to take,” said Garell.

Previous charities featured by Performers for Progress include The Water Project, a charity that gives remote African villages fresh water, Against Malaria Foundation, which pays for Malaria nets to prevent the spread of the disease, and many other international causes. Before Helping By Any Dreams Necessary, the only Performers for Progress charity that benefited people in the United States was Each One Reach One, a program that helps young adults transition from leaving prison to becoming a productive part of their community.

Money is earned through selling tickets, concessions, Performers for Progress t-shirts, and DVDs of the show. Past proceeds have ranged from $1,500 to $4,700, and the goal for this show’s is $4,000.
Along with raising money and awareness for local and foreign charities, Garell and Cook strive to showcase as much Miramonte talent as possible. Over 50 Miramonte singers, dancers, and poets are participating in the spring show.

Junior Rachael Oczkus, senior Meredith White, and Campolindo senior Emily White will do a ballet; Miramonte’s own a cappella club, the Treble Makers, will sing “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root; senior Haley Rowland and Campolindo senior Erin O’Connell will perform a dance; Faith Engstrom will sing Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” accompanied by senior Melissa Chenok; and seniors Hannah Tennant, Emily Nenni and Zoe

Michelson will perform “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters. This is just a preview of the many performances on the agenda.

“I’ve performed in a couple of Performers for Progress shows before and loved being able to do what I love while supporting a worthy cause,” said Rowland.