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Beth Bales: Cause for 'Glee?' Winning Money to Fix Up GHS Auditorium

A Geneva High School senior filmed a video submission for the 'Glee Give a Note' contest to support music education and the performing arts. Vote early and often, to give the school a chance to win a grant.

Beth Bales: Cause for 'Glee?' Winning Money to Fix Up GHS Auditorium

Want to help make improvements to ’s auditorium—without spending a dime?

Vote for senior Luke Totman’s video submission in the “” campaign. 

Online voting has begun in the contest, which will award 73 schools grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to help fund music education. Schools had to submit videos about why their school deserves the money. 

The campaign was created by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in partnership with the National Association for Music Education to help support music and arts programs in public schools. And what better way than tapping into the popularity of a hit television show–Glee–that’s all about the arts?

Making the video was a natural for Totman, who is considering studying film and video in college. Choir director Roxanne Curtis had read about the contest and announced it to her students. Totman decided he’d take up the cause. 

“Mrs. Curtis and I wanted to focus on the auditorium because there’s so much room for improvement,” Totman said.

The video starts with rehearsal and backstage shots, then proceeds to students rushing out to the auditorium, dressed in a very eclectic collection of clothing, including some off-beat costumes. They line up and start to sing. Then senior Bianca Shaw stops the show, and takes over the narration. She points out the lack of costumes, the flickering lights and other deficiencies, including, worst of all “the performers of tomorrow being held back.”

“Never should a student be told that they can’t do something just because we don’t have the resources,” she said, asking for help and support.

The video ends with Shaw saying, “Therefore from the depths of our hearts and the bottoms of our diaphragms ... ” (all students in union) “Help us make our dreams come true.” 

Broken seats are a problem in the auditorium. Totman said he wrote and filmed a sequence that included a man falling out of a broken chair. “But it could only be two minutes long and so I had to cut that,” he said. 

Filming took place in one evening. Many students showed up to perform, and volunteers from the new Theatre Boosters group supported them all with snacks and lots of water. Boosters Co-President Marjie Grischow also provided invaluable help making sure the submission met all the contest rules and regulations, Totman said. 

The world of the imagination and imagery also had to contend with real-world issues. Filming was the day of a storm, and when Totman showed up that night, the power was out. “Only the emergency lighting was on,” he said. “I sat down and wrote another script, just in case. 

“And literally, five minutes before we were set to start with everybody, the lights came back on.”

And after that, it was non-stop, high-energy fun for about two hours, he said. “I think everybody else had a fun time, too,” he said. 

More than 300 schools nationwide submitted videos for grant consideration. There are 25 submissions from Illinois.

People may vote once daily. However, note that that’s per computer! Many people have both a laptop and a desktop, or a work computer as well as a home computer. Voting ends at 11:59:59 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7. 

As of mid-day Monday, Totman’s video had 588 votes. Many other videos had votes in the 400-500 range. Lane Tech College Prep, in Chicago, had a whopping 14,488 votes with a “Bohemian Rhapsody”-inspired piece. 

Schools receiving the most votes will move on to a final selection made by the National Association for Music Education. Winners will be announced in December, with three grand prizes of $50,000 each; 10 first prizes of $25,000 each; and 60 second prizes of $10,000 each. 

A total of $1 dollar for every DVD of Glee Season 2 sold goes toward the $1 million guaranteed commitment. 

Remember. Vote early. Vote often. GHS performing arts students today, and in the future, thank you. 

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