WINSLOW — Winslow High School performers took to the stage over the weekend at Fort Halifax Park to sing “Seasons of Love,” made famous by the musical “Rent.”

“How do you measure, measure a year?” the group of about 20 sang in harmony. It was an interesting question, because the students of Winslow’s performing arts programs were there to raise money for the upcoming year. By Monday afternoon, the estimated amount raised was more than $1,800.

The funding goes to support the extracurricular clubs at the high school, as drama club and jazz band aren’t funded through the school district. Upgrades to equipment and new items are infrequent.

With little funding for extracurricular activities in Winslow, a group of local businesses and parents worked together for A Day in the Park for the Arts, with the hope of raising money for Winslow High drama, band and chorus clubs.

“We’ve really been blown away,” said Jennifer McCowan, drama teacher for Winslow. “Not just by the people that showed up, but the businesses that donated. It’s really beyond our expectations.”

The money raised Sunday will be put toward getting a new pair of curtains for the stage in the high school, as the current ones aren’t up to fire code; and to obtain the rights for the fall musical, which is going to be “Into the Woods.” The stage is used by drama, band and chorus.

“Musicals are expensive, but they’re big crowd-pleasers and we like to keep the ticket price low,” McCowan said.

In the middle of the afternoon, roughly 100 people gathered for the music and festivities.

Robin Thompson, of Superior Event Sound, one of the event’s organizers, said more people kept showing up.

“We’re seeing an exchange of people,” she said. “Some come in, hang out for whatever their favorite band is, and then another group files in.”

Hundreds of spectators relaxed in lawn chairs throughout the day, listening to their favorite hits from a variety of local bands, including 4 Over 40, Crossin’ Mason Dixon and Emerald Sky, which allowed sophomore standup bassist Emily Pellerin to join them for a cover of “God Bless the USA,” by Lee Greenwood.

Sharon Douglass, owner of Sea-rious-ly Glass in Winslow, was one of the vendors. She donated a set of seashell votives for the raffle. Besides being a local business operator, Douglass has two children in the drama program. She said her children told her about the club’s financial struggles.

“We don’t have any money this year, and we need new curtains,” Douglass said, referring to the performing arts clubs. “Funding for the rights to the music is a big thing, getting curtains is a big thing. We’re self-funded.”

The dozens of businesses that donated gifts were approached by the students participating in the performing arts clubs. At the fundraiser, several of them were helping with the event, selling raffle tickets, painting faces and directing the parking.

“We’re really low on money,” said Nathaniel Lombardi, a senior who participates in the drama club and plays trumpet for the band. “We’re just trying to help out the program.”

Matthew Vashon, also a senior who participates in drama, said he was happy with the support and the number of people who showed up throughout the day.

“It’s been a lot better than what we expected,” he said.

While this was the first fundraiser of its kind for Winslow High, Thompson could see the event becoming an annual gathering — and maybe growing in size.

“We’ve been in talks with some of the band members, and there’s a very strong possibility that this may become an annual event,” Thompson said. “It may grow and become a weekend festival. We had to turn some bands down this year because of time constraints.”

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
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