By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The extravaganza held to benefit Havre Public Schools has grown so much in four years it now will provide performances on three days.
The shows on Sunday and Tuesday will feature a variety of HPS alumni performers. Monday's will feature alumna and pianist Angela Pratt.
"We're really excited to have two full slates of performers," said Kathie Newell, a member of the Havre school board and the Havre Public School Education Foundation.
Proceeds from the shows pays the administrative expenses of the foundation, which works to provide money for scholarships, and HPS programs and special projects.
Newell said the Sunday and Tuesday shows will each have about 12 performances, including solo artists, duets and bands. Many of the acts feature family members. The only requirement is that at least one performer has attended a Havre school.
"We're especially thrilled to have Angela Pratt in her first public performance," Newell added.
Pratt, a 1993 Havre High School graduate, gave a preview Wednesday to members of her church at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Havre.
Her performance at 7 p.m. Monday is free, but donations will be accepted.
Pratt, who is an assistant high school choir director and gives private voice and piano lessons in Worland, Wyo., said any money raised at her Monday performance will go to benefit the music and drama programs at Havre High School.
"We'll see where it's needed the most," she said.
She will debut her first CD, a recording of her original works, for sale at Monday's performance. Her performance Monday also will be of songs she has written.
"It's all my own stuff," Pratt said.
She will be joined by husband Casey Pratt, brother Aaron Riggin, and members of the Havre High choir.
Pratt also will be one of the performers Sunday, and will be joined by her husband and brother again for a performance at Tuesday's show. Those shows have a $5 admission charge.
The extravaganza began as a one-night event four years ago.
"We ended up with enough people who were interested to expand it to more than one night," Newell said.
Nan Gabriel will be performing for the third year.
"I think anything that will help our education system will be a benefit," she said.
Gabriel said she will probably sing a Christmas song. Bob Horne Jr., her brother, will sing, and Jared Gabriel, her son, will sing and play guitar.
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller said the extravaganza has been a successful fund-raiser for the foundation.
"Last year we had a huge snowstorm. The crowd was down a little bit, but in previous years the crowds were pretty good," he said.
Miller added that an anonymous donor made up for the smaller crowd last year. The donor matched up to $250 raised each night, adding a total of $500 to the pot.
Newell said the extravaganza has raised about $1,500 each year.
Most of the other donations the foundation receives are for specific funds, projects or scholarships and can't be used for general foundation expenses, she said.
The Havre school board established the foundation in 2000 with the purpose of "raising, accumulating, and disbursing funds to improve, enhance and support the educational opportunities for the students of Hill County School District 16 & A," the foundation's page at the Havre Public Schools Web site said.
Miller said the foundation's assets are now more than $100,000, with much of the money dedicated to providing scholarships for higher education, including memorial and organization-sponsored scholarships. Other funds provide money for specific programs, or for other school-related projects.
The foundation also has a Blue/White Spirit Fund Raiser, which allows people to make single donations or pledges based on the success of Blue Pony varsity teams during their regular seasons.
Miller said people can pay a specific amount for every touchdown, ace in tennis, pin in wrestling, or free throw or 3-point shot in basketball. That fund-raiser brought in about $15,000 last year and will raise closer to $20,000 this year.
The foundation picked three projects to help fund: installing new bleachers at Blue Pony Stadium, which was completed this year; an upgraded sound system at the high school gymnasium; and renovation of the high school auditorium.