MOSES LAKE — Not even an impending blizzard could stop about 120 die-hard supporters of the arts from coming to the Columbia Basin Allied Arts soiree Friday night at Big Bend Community College.
“We had a good turnout even considering the weather,” said CBAA vice president Leslie Ramsden. “I know several tables couldn’t make it but those who did understood the importance of being there.” Organizers had expected about 150 attendees, she added.
The annual soiree is the primary fundraiser for CBAA, which sponsors concerts and performances for both children and adults. Most recently the organization brought the Yakima Symphony Orchestra to perform at the Wallenstien Theater, and this week Missoula Children’s Theater will take a cast of local kids and produce a musical play in just five days.
This year’s soiree was number 10, said director Shawn Cardwell, and it raised around $38,000, largely through its live auction.
“I think everything went for fair value,” said Ramsden of the auction. “People know what they’re supporting. I think we got that message across what we’re trying to raise money for and how important it is. People weren’t trying to get bargains; they were paying full price.”
The soiree began with a social hour with music provided by Geoffrey Castle, who performed at a CBAA concert last December. Usually described as a violinist, Castle held his six-string electric instrument in the air and said, “Since I’m wearing a cowboy hat, tonight this is a fiddle.” Whatever the terminology, the music was varied and lively.
Refreshments were provided in the form of hors d’oeuvres and beer and wine, and the room at the ATEC building was decorated in accordance with the soiree’s theme “Red.”
After the music, Cardwell addressed the crowd about the importance of the arts they were supporting. “We believe in all the arts for all the people, from adults to the children,” she said.
“In the last year we’ve provided thousands of children free and low-cost arts performances and workshops in their schools. We kind of started reformatting our Green Turtle series so we have less public shows and more outreach in the schools. We can’t tell you how important experiencing the arts is for children until you see them exploring visual arts with their hands, using glitter and glue and scissors and learning to weave or tie knots.”
The auction as next, presided over by Jacob Barth. The items on the block were varied, including tickets to sports events and musical performances, a pottery painting party, wince collections and more. One prize that was popular was a private performance by Castle at the winner’s choice of party. “Every occasion is more festive with a little fiddle, don’t you think?” Castle asked the crowd.
The evening finished off with a performance by local band Foolish Fortune, which Ramsden described as “really fantastic.”
“Everyone danced to the very end. I think the kitchen staff was dancing too. It was fun.”
“We were just really appreciative of everyone that showed up and the support we get for the community,” she added. “This is just a great town that understands what’s important to having a really good quality of life. We get to live in this small area and still enjoy the finer things. We’re lucky.”