By RACHEL COLEMAN
Leader & Times
It’s perfect weather for chili, which is good news for the Redskin Singers. As the Liberal High School vocal ensemble nears the final stage of fundraising for its Disneyland performance this spring, the group will host a chili dinner fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mid-America Air Museum. Proceeds from the free will donation meal, silent auction and drawing will help put the Redskin Singers aboard the Amtrak train to Los Angeles at the end of April.
“We’re doing well, we are definitely over the halfway mark,” said parent and organizer Kim Hay. “The entire community has helped tremendously, and we really appreciate all their help. Now it’s time for that final push to finish things up.”
Students have been at work for several months to raise the $15,000 needed for the trip. In January, they sold Pizza Hut coupons and McDonald’s cards, then sponsored a large garage sale — “There was a great turnout,” Hay said; in February, the Redskin Singers traveled all over town to deliver their traditional and highly popular Singing Valentines, and followed up with a massive clean-up session after the home show.
Now that March has arrived, it’s time to tie the apron strings and head for the kitchen.
Thursday’s dinner will feature home-cooked chili with Fritos, cheese and crackers, plus relish items, drinks and cookies.
“It’s not fancy, but it will be a filling, hot meal for the cold weather,” Hay said. “We hope lots of people will come on out to support us.”
In addition to the meal, the evening includes a silent auction of work by local artists. Watercolor painter and longtime arts supporter Saundra Koochel donated a painting. Husband-and-wife team Gary Marsh, who teaches 3-D art at LHS and Diane Marsh, art director at Baker Arts Center, contributed two artworks. Finally, local artist Jo Scoby donated her services as a large-scale mural painter, to create a custom-designed art piece for the highest bidder.
Liberal High School alum and former Redskin Singer Jerrod Niemann, a rising country-music star, also chipped in prizes. The silent auction will offer cowboy boots, a hat, a guitar and a decorative snow globe music box, all autographed by Niemann.
For those who want the thrill of winning the prize, tickets are on sale for $1 each for a prize drawing that offers several other items autographed by Niemann, a Seward County Community College Lady Saints autographed basketball, and various Wizard of Oz items donated by Dorothy’s House.
With about $8,000 remaining to be raised, Hay said the 18 members of Redskin Singers have been heartened by the community’s support.
“These kids work so hard,” she said. “They sing all over town, anywhere people ask. In fact, they got up early on Pancake Day to sing at the breakfast — the National Anthem and ‘God Save the Queen.’ It’s so neat that people have been so supportive in return.”
The Redskin Singers Chili Supper and Silent Auction is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mid-America Air Museum. Free will donations are accepted for the meal, and tickets for a drawing will be sold for $1 each. Silent auction winning bids will be announced for original artwork by Liberal artists.