KANELAND—Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters held its second annual Knight of Performances on Sunday at Harter Middle School (HMS). And it was during the event that Ally Mitchinson, a sixth-grader at HMS, did something she had never done before: stepping on stage and playing “Carnival” on the clarinet in front of a big audience.
“I was a little nervous,” Mitchinson said. “But then I started and I kind of just felt focused. And I felt a little better.”
Kaneland High School sisters Jordan, a sophomore, and Kayla Hedgren, a senior, sang a duet, “Kiss It Better,” during the event, with Kayla also accompanying on piano. The siblings are not novices when it comes to performing together—they’ll appear in the high school’s upcoming spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Jordan said she had “happy butterflies” in her stomach during the Knight of Performances number.
“For me, it was a little bit nerve-wracking just because it’s the first time I played the piano, like accompanied us before,” Kayla said. “I was super excited to get to perform it. Especially with Jordan.”
According to Denise Blaszynski, president of Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, there were a total of 42 acts during the Knight of Performances, ranging from vocal and instrumental solos to ensembles. Kaneland Youth Orchestra represented with four violin players. Other acts included HMS Jazz Band and Mid-Knight Special and actors from “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Blaszynski called the event a success.
“I think just the fact that we walked into a packed cafeteria and there were the student performers,” she said. “And people were really, really happy. They were able to have a really enjoyable afternoon.”
Blaszynski said more than 300 people attended the event, and almost $3,600 was raised. Money will go toward band, choir and theatre programs at KHS and HMS.
Many attendees dined on barbecue chicken and pork chops, minus the barbecue sauce, with baked beans, cole slaw, apple sauce and a dinner roll. Dessert included fruit kabobs, pie, brownies and cookies.
Attendees could purchase raffle tickets and the opportunity to win one of the 82 raffle baskets. Prize goodies included a reserved student parking spot at KHS, Chicago Cubs tickets and local business and restaurant gift certificates.
Jim Tockstein lives in unincorporated Elburn and is a Kaneland parent. He had the chance to see his son James, a junior, play the jazzy tune “Take Five” with sophomore Katelyn Blaszynski, daughter of Denise. James played guitar while Katelyn played the saxophone.
Tockstein and his wife, Ann, have seen many a Kaneland performance when it comes to their children.
“It’s always exciting to see them up there,” Jim said. “You appreciate them having the opportunity to be able to perform.”
Meanwhile, Mitchinson had some reflective thoughts when it came to her performance at the event.
“It was a good place to start, because I knew a lot of people, “ she said. “I knew I had supportive people behind me.”