VVHS orchestra practices “Funiculi, Funicula,” a rollicking Neopolitan song written to celebrate the opening of a funicular lift up Mt. Vesuvius.

An evening of lively Italian music and food is offered Tuesday, September 18, as the Virgin Valley High School orchestra, choir, and guitar orchestra present, “Bella Notte.”  Returning for a second year, this dinner concert features pop, opera and showtune favorites and classics.  An Italian-themed dinner will be served, featuring appetizers and desserts prepared by the VVHS Culinary Arts classes.  “Bella Notte” will be held at Rising Star Sports Ranch Ballroom, 333 North Sandhill Blvd., Mesquite.  Appetizers are served at 5:30pm, dinner at 6:00pm.  Tickets for the dinner and concert are $30, with proceeds benefitting the VVHS music department.

Under the direction of Marie Palmer, the student musicians have been preparing a pitch-perfect performance for their guests.  Almost 100 students are enrolled in her classes this year.

Mrs. Palmer came to VVHS three years ago, and in that short time she has become known for her innovative, fun approach to music education.   Her fundraising initiatives help provide needed supplies, plus opportunities for her students to attend musical performances and events that help them see the beauty and value of musical arts.

Money is being raised this year for a student trip to Carson City, where students will tour the Nevada State Capitol and Museum, as well as visit a local high school where they will partner with their Northern Nevada counterparts in a concert.  The students also look forward to a trip to Smith Center, Las Vegas, for a performance of “Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.”

Newcomers to Mesquite may not be acquainted with need for fundraising of high school programs.  In the case of music education, the Clark County School District provides instruments and music when a program, such as the guitar orchestra, is added to the school curriculum.  However, once the program is in the curriculum, it is largely the school’s responsibility to maintain instruments, and replace if necessary.  Providing new sheet music  costs many thousands of dollars a year.  With pianos to be tuned, music stands to be replaced, and workbooks needed, teachers have their hands full just keeping up with everyday needs for basic instruction.

“Bella Notte” is the major fundraiser of the year for the VVHS music department.  This is also an opportunity for the community to enjoy and congratulate the students for their outstanding efforts.  Immediate purchase of tickets is recommended, as last year’s event was sold out.  Tickets can be purchased at VVHS 9:00am-1:00pm, and First Baptist Church 10:00am-3:00pm, Monday through Friday.  Checks should be written to VVHS.  Credit cards cannot be accepted.  Donations may also be made to the VVHS Music Department throughout the school year. Call VVHS, 702-346-2780, for information.