Dancing for Dreams to help children discover music
The first time Gerri Wright-Gibson saw a live orchestra perform, she was 12 years old.
The Daytona Beach Symphony Guild president remembers she had tears in her eyes as she listened to the music coming from the stage. It's a feeling she hopes youth today will get a chance to experience and why the guild together with the Daytona Beach Symphony Society are putting on the "Dancing For Dreams" fundraiser at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center on Jan. 20.
The proceeds of "Dancing For Dreams" will go toward the Youth Experiencing Symphony program, which gives children ages eight and up the chance to see a live performance — symphonies, operas and ballets — at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach. Cathy Bauerle, president of the Daytona Beach Symphony Society, said the YES program helps an estimated 200 children attend each performance, many of which are from Ormond Beach.
"Dancing For Dreams" will be a glamorous event, said chairperson Kathy Tompros and will feature nine local "celebrities" and community leaders, including Volusia County Councilwoman Billie Wheeler. The contestants, some of which have been practicing since June of last year, will battle it out with their instructors in a similar format to "Dancing with the Stars" to be the top fundraiser.
“It is a fundraiser, but they’re going to have fun raising," Tompros said.
While they've sold about 380 tickets so far, the guild and the society are hoping for a full house so that more local kids can experience music in a way they may never have had the chance to.
“It’s just such a treat to see them when they come and just their little eyes open up," Bauerle said.
Wright-Gibson said music can change a person — it has the potential to change the course of someone's life if exposed to it from a young age. For her, it did just that.
“It moves you and it impacts who you are," she said.
Bauerle also pointed out that the YES program grooms future patrons of the arts, which children sometimes have limited exposure to depending on their household. Sometimes, Bauerle said, people don't attend performances because they aren't sure what they are.
“This gives them a choice," Tompros said. "They can actually see that there is more to music than just what they hear on the radio.”