Big Band Gala, instant community success

In its inaugural year the Big Band Valentine’s Day Gala, raising money for Rimbey Victim Services, exceeded every expectation

In its inaugural year the Big Band Valentine’s Day Gala, raising money for Rimbey Victim Services, exceeded every expectation placed upon it—and some that weren’t considered.

Through ticket sales, a live auction, silent auction and RCMP print sales, the Feb. 9 event at the Rimbey Community Centre raised approximately $7,500.

“We were very pleased actually. This is the first time we’ve done a big event like this. I don’t think we had any expectations financially but we were very, very pleased,” said Rebekah Seidel, chairperson for the board of directors of the Rimbey and District Victim Services.

Two hundred forty tickets to the event were sold, making it a first year sellout. “I think it was fabulous at a first-time event to sell out. The array of ages in the room was fabulous … There was good representation of the community there,” said Seidel.

According to coordinator Jordanna Huggins, the gala’s planning began five months ago. “It’s been in the works for quite a while. I think everyone was very pleased with how everything turned out. I think it even exceeded our expectations.”

Huggins says one of the biggest steps in putting the evening together was finding a band to entertain the crowd. It was Seidel who contacted the Flat Iron Jazz band out of Lacombe. “We would definitely work with the same band again.”

When tenor sax player Grant Harder was asked if the band would ever participate again, he believed they would. “Absolutely, for sure. It’s a great cause.”

“We thought it was actually fantastic, the number of tickets sold … It was well run, it was good. The band really enjoyed it he added.

Other elements of the event, such as the live auction, were added at the last minute. A volunteer advocate knew Andrew Reeleder as an auctioneer and invited him to participate. “He very much encouraged the higher bids. He did a very good job,” said Seidel.

Ten of the 11 RCMP prints were sold. They ranged from $100 to $300 in reserved bids. There were also door prizes and a best-dressed couple and individual competition. The best-dressed couple award went to Jean and Vic Duckering and Const. Tyler Hagel, who attended in his red serge uniform, took best-dressed individual.

Also in attendance was Sgt. Mark Groves. “We were wondering how the people of Rimbey would receive it. I think it’s exceeded my expectations.”

“To raise the money to help the program is a big deal,” he added.

Seidel hopes to make the gala an annual Valentine’s Day event in Rimbey.