Dancing to the warm sounds of the Caribbean on a cold winter night, around 250 people came out for Salsa Night at Sauk Trail on Friday, Jan. 22.
The Sauk Trail PTO transformed the gym and cafeteria with tropical decorations and lighting and organized the meal, while Anne Gustafson’s art students created unique flowers to decorate the hallway.
Music teacher John Becker and his band provided Afro-Cuban music for dancing, listening and socializing. Sauk Trail mom and professional dance instructor Mary Ortiz and her young assistant, Celia, demonstrated salsa and cha cha cha dance steps.
Two Sauk Trail parents, Cecilie Ballard and Diana Greene took turns sitting in and singing vocals, while staff member Tom Kobinsky sat in on guitar and brought to mind Carlos Santana, Becker said.
A quesadilla meal started the evening off with a chance to talk over dinner with old friends and the opportunity to make new friends.
The music for the evening was funded through a district Global Initiative grant written by Becker, and was the first of two global music projects funded through that grant.
In the spring, the Sauk Trail community will come together for the second project, an all-school assembly during the school day with professional world music drummers performing for and with the students. As part of that project, all students will create their own percussion instrument in art class and play it in the assembly.
A third opportunity for students to hear and work with performing artists, will be in the later in the year and funded by a grant from the Madison Jazz Society, as well as Jeff and Tiffany Roepsch and an anonymous donor. Students will have the chance to hear and see jazz music close-up in an all-school assembly, with some “sitting in” and improvising with the band and experiencing the magic of music.