It’s not often that a string quartet or vocalist performance opens a formal business meeting. On Nov. 6, the La Plata Business Association’s (LPBA) monthly meeting began with student performers from La Plata High School showcasing the talents of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students. For the past six years, the LPBA has partnered with Keith Grasso of Island Music Company to host Rocktoberfest and donate the proceeds to CCPS.
This year’s donation to CCPS was $41,000 – the highest donation provided to CCPS since Rocktoberfest started in 2014. Rocktoberfest is held annually during October in downtown La Plata. The event includes musical performances, high school jazz and marching band appearances, local business support, food trucks, a kid zone and vendor exhibits.
The donation supports CCPS fine and performing arts programs. At the start of the meeting, John Flatley, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A in La Plata and LPBA president, presented a check to Superintendent of Schools Kimberly Hill. “We are excited to make our annual donation to Charles County Public Schools to support the arts. Rocktoberfest started as a small event at Casey Jones and has grown into a massive and amazing event. We appreciate what you [CCPS] do and what music and the arts does for students,” Flatley said.
Hill said she is proud to work in a community that has organizations such as the LPBA that strive to support children. “To me, this is what community is all about. What you contribute is so meaningful. You can be successful and you can be significant. Thank you for sharing your successes and for being significant in the lives of our kids,” Hill said.
According to Tim Bodamer, content specialist in fine and performing arts for CCPS, students in all grade levels participate in some form of a fine or performing arts class or program. From music, art and band to chorus and orchestra offerings, students are exposed to fine and performing arts program throughout their educational career. Bodamer said the donation helps to support students at all levels.
“Rocktoberfest donations have had a great impact on all levels and contents of fine and performing arts. The event has not only benefited CCPS fine and performing arts, but the entire community. The support the La Plata Business Association has given to our programs over the years is amazing,” Bodamer said.
Bodamer said the funding will support the replacement of equipment used by high school theater groups, such as wireless headphones and ear pieces for stage crews, as well as instruments, art supplies, iPads and guest clinicians.
Grasso, Island Music Company owner, said more than 5,000 people attended this year’s Rocktoberfest and that hosting the event takes a team effort.
“We are proud to see our entire community passionate about supporting our vision to create an event that showcases our local talent, raises funds to help support up and coming musicians, and brings people to our downtown area. Rocktoberfest is truly a community event and would not be possible without the teamwork and support of all involved,” Grasso said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.