Block 6: Playhouse Disney

Ben Pope, Reporter

As dancers embarked on the second half of Dance Marathon on Saturday morning, a campaign to raise $30,000 in 10 hours during the event approached its own midway point.

With more than six hours to go, fundraising efforts ongoing during the marathon — such as a phone-a-thon and social media outreach — had raised $14,703, the finance committee announced to a cheering crowd. This is the second year the committee has set a specific goal for fundraising during the marathon.

“Prior to last year, we had always fundraised before coming into the tent, but we realized we had this resource of just so many dancers that were here that were still willing and able to fundraise,” said Kalli Koukounas, a Weinberg senior and finance co-chair. “It just really worked in a fantastic manner, so we thought we’d try it again this year.”

The finance committee also offered a grant program to dancers through Student Enrichment Services for the first time this year, which Nate Korn, finance co-chair, said was the most noteworthy change from previous marathons.

“What that was was money we raised through faculty, alumni and sponsorships pooled together to provide matching grants to dancers who could be struggling with fundraising,” the Weinberg senior said.

Back in the tent, dancers grooved to a live performance by August Hotel, a local band whose guitarist, Ryan Lammers, is a Communication senior.

The band played original music, including their new single “12AM,” and covered songs such as Two Door Cinema Club’s “What You Know” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” a Northwestern party staple.

“August Hotel gave us a needed rest with some indie music,” said McCormick freshman Danny Callahan, who donned a costume for the block’s Playhouse Disney theme. “It’s nice when it isn’t always super hype pop music.”

Reid Walters, a SESP freshman, said she was impressed with the band’s performance and welcomed the calmer concert-like atmosphere after 16 hours of dancing.

The block closed with a speech from Melissa Ciraulo, whose son receives speech therapy at Gigi’s Playhouse.

“We are so blessed … to have the love and support all around us, and it just amazes us every day,” Ciraulo told the crowd. “I thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart … for doing this for us today.”

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