By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Hudson High School (HHS) Auditorium is frequently used by a number of organizations including the River's Edge Arts Alliance (REAA) and the HHS Drama Society. These organizations appreciate the importance of creating illusions to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief from their audience. They also understand that money is needed to enhance a performance venue.
Cue the spotlight on a first-time fundraiser: “Applause for Our Cause: The Big 50/50 Raffle.” Five hundred raffle tickets are available for $20 each. One winner will receive $5,000. The rest will go toward technical improvements and repairs in the HHS Auditorium.
There's an ongoing partnership between the two arts groups, noted Lynne Johnson, REAA executive director.
“We have a very solid relationship with the Hudson Public Schools,” she said. “We'se always sharing set pieces, costumes and materials. We use the space, so we want to help them in any way that we can.”
REAA recently purchased a cyclorama, which is a large, white curtain that encircles the stage to form a background on which lights or slides create special effects. Both organizations use the cyclorama, but with limitations.
“There isn's a fly system at the high school, so we need rigging to be able to get that to go up and down,” Johnson explained.
Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will go toward rigging and possibly some other production needs. The stage lighting could be improved and updated. Clip-on microphones would be more effective.
Also, there's the unavoidable wear and tear of any facility, noted Kathleen McKenzie, HHS director of theatre.
“The auditorium is a beautiful space, but it's now 11 years old,” she said. “We need to continually repair and update our space, so that it can stay as beautiful as it was 11 years ago. Thousands and thousands of people come into that auditorium.”
In addition to the numerous productions of these two organizations, the auditorium is used for school assemblies, town meetings, and other arts groups such as Symphony Pro Musica.
Johnson and McKenzie each feels that this fundraiser is a win-win for everyone involved.
“People in the arts need to be creative in how we find our funding,” McKenzie said. “And we have to find ways that can be beneficial to our community as a whole. That's one reason why this 50/50 raffle is such a great idea. Who couldn's use $5,000?”
The winning ticket will be drawn at the final performance of the REAA's Summer Drama Workshop production of “42nd Street,” Saturday, July 26, at the HHS Auditorium.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at REAA events and online at upwitharts.org.