Allegheny dance club gives concert to benefit Special Olympics


Meghan Hayman

JaDE performers practice their dance for the benefit concert this Saturday March 28 at 7 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium. It is the 8th annual concert benefiting the Crawford County Special Olympics.

The Allegheny Jazz and Dance Ensemble will perform their 8th annual spring benefit concert on Saturday March 28 at 7 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium.

The money raised at the concert will go to the Crawford County Special Olympics.

Megan Aurin, ’15, president of JaDE, said the club of 13 women will host the event and other movement classes from campus, as well as dance classes from Meadville to perform a family-friendly variety show.

“A couple years ago the Crawford County Special Olympics lost a lot of their funding so we try to compensate for that by holding this concert,” Aurin said. “We’ve been able to send them to state competitions with the money we’ve raised so it really does help them out a lot.”

The show is choreographed by members of the club as well as other students who participate in dance organizations and classes on campus.

Aurin said that they have a club advisor, Betsy Sumerfield, an instructor for dance and movement studies at Allegheny, to oversee the club but the group has the freedom to pick and create the dances how they please.

“We started learning the dances and picked out the dances last semester,” Aurin said.

“We’ve been really working this whole semester on learning choreography and creating choreography.  We’ve also asked a lot of businesses downtown and clubs on campus to help create raffle baskets so it really is a joint community effort.”   

Fundraising chair Caroline Brennan, ’17, said that they have gotten a lot of support from the Allegheny campus as well as from local Meadville business.

“We made trips downtown and asked businesses to get involved and help us create baskets to raffle off at the event,” Brennan said.  “We’ve been contacting clubs around campus for help as well.”

Brennan said the hardest part of preparing for the concert was working with everyone’s schedule and finding time to devote to the club and the cause.

  “We’re all so busy with a lot of different things but this is something we all care about and want to make time for,” Brennan said.

Aurin said she is looking forward to showcasing their talents, raising money for a great cause and her last performance at Allegheny.

“This is going to be my last concert so I am kind of looking forward to it being my last big performance at Allegheny but it will also be bittersweet just because it is the last one,” Aurin said.

“I love all the girls and it will be sad to leave them and leave the club because it has done so much for me.”

Sam Bretz, ’18, concert co-chair is most looking forward to performing for a crowd.

“There will be kids from the Special Olympics coming to the show which will be really cool for them to see what we are doing for them and see the impact that we are making on them,” Bretz said.

Admission to the concert is free but donations are appreciated.  All donations and proceeds from the raffle baskets will be donated to the Crawford County Special Olympics.