Serving Mansfield at the First Ever Music Alley Festival

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Serving Mansfield at the First Ever Music Alley Festival

Ella Gwartney

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Local art, music, and a guitar-playing cowboy on stilts are just some of the sights people could enjoy at Mansfield’s first ever Music Alley Festival. On Saturday, September 9, the city of Mansfield and the Mansfield Commission for the Arts put together an event where residents were able to come enjoy live music, food trucks, interactive art displays, as well as other family activities. The festival also happened to be the Lake Ridge High School Key Club and the National Honor Society’s first big volunteer opportunity of the year. Both clubs came together to support their hometown.

Community service organizations at Lake Ridge took the opportunity to get in some volunteer hours and maybe even enjoy some of the art and music themselves. Both Key Club and the National Honor society have similar goals within the community and don’t let their differences come between them.

“NHS and Key Club are two organizations that both seek to serve the community. Both organizations have worked in tandem before to make a positive impact on our school and community. That being said, it is always a welcome sight to see NHS and Key Club serving side by side,” said Luan Do, Lake Ridge senior and President of the National Honor Society.

The National Honor Society and Key Club members not only got the chance to accrue volunteer hours but were also able to see and interact with the art and music on display. The local musicians were all excited to be performing in Mansfield. Stephanie Diana Rore Garcia, lead singer of the band Aurora Bleu that she co-owns with her husband, says that one of the band members is a Mansfield resident, but the opportunity just hadn’t come up for them to play in Mansfield.

“We’ve never played in Mansfield before, this is our first time. We’ve had the band since 2009, so we’ve had it going on nine years now. We play all over DFW, we just haven’t had the privilege of coming to a Mansfield event,” said Garcia.

Every style of art and music could be accounted for at the festival. Aurora Bleu specializes in vintage and retro music: swing, jump, blues, and jazz. Also represented by other bands was country line-dancing music, Latin salsa music, rock-and-roll, and a little bit of Motown sound. There was certainly something for everybody.

For both clubs, volunteering at community events is a big deal. Even when both clubs are at one place the officers see it as a special opportunity.

“Working together is really special for us, especially at the Music Alley Festival. Since it was so big, the coordinators needed a lot of volunteers to take care of each booth, like the props in the photo areas. We got to help the first ever festival run as smoothly as it did, so it’s a pretty gratifying feeling. It doesn’t matter that the National Honor Society and Key Club are two different organizations, we accomplished the job we came to do and got to do fun things like play some drums between shifts,” said junior Diana Fernandez who is the Vice President of the Key Club and a member of the National Honor Society.

Artists were bringing their own flair to the event as well. Mary Elizabeth Philipps and her husband are responsible for a lot of the street art in Downtown Mansfield. They think that an element of their art that makes it fun and interesting is how free and expressive it is.

“We do all different kinds of art and this is our career. We have to have a really diverse portfolio so that we’ve always got something to do. But what I’m working on today is my true love which is three-dimensional mixed media, so I’ve got paint, charcoal, and tissue paper on canvas. If I were inside, I would probably have pages of dictionaries and all kinds of other stuff too,” explained Philipps.

Art and music have always been important to Mansfield just as service is important to the National Honor Society and Key Club. At the Music Alley Festival, everyone was able to find something to do that was perfect for them.

The National Honor Society and Key Club will definitely be returning to the Music Alley Festival next year. With the presence of two clubs, there are twice as many volunteers, so twice as many students get to enjoy the festivities and give back to their hometown. The unique art and music made the event a much more exciting experience and the service they gave to Mansfield helped uphold their core beliefs. As far as both clubs are concerned, working together only means more benefits.

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