Rockin’ the Roundhouse 2013 will be taking place on September 28th. The start time and details are still to be determined, but we are forming planning committees right now, and we would love to have you as a volunteer!
The name was the same: Rockin’ the Roundhouse. The venue was the same: Charles Koch Arena. There were all of the traditional RnR activities: silent and live auctions, and all the food and drink a Shocker could want. The dominant colors in choice of dress remained Wichita State black and yellow. But the vibe at the WSU Alumni Association’s premier fundraising and social event of the year was different – it was jazzier.
“In attitude and atmosphere, we were going for a smooth jazz feel,” says Mandy Fleming, director of events at the alumni association. “We certainly had the soundtrack for it with our featured entertainers – Phil Mershon and his Philmonious Jazz Quintet with special guest Donna Tucker. Sam Ramey made an extraordinary appearance with the quintet at our after-hours VIP party. And playing in our Flicker Lounge, which we set up in the silent-auction area, was the John Goering Trio. John, who’s both a Shocker alum and a member of Wichita State’s jazz faculty, is an awesome musician.”
RNR 2012 began with a VIP pre-party featuring wine-and-chocolate pairings with WSU President John and First Lady Deborah ’75/77 Bardo in the Champions Club. Beth Tully ’76 of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates provided – and served! – the superb chocolates, while Jamie Stratton of Jacob Liquor was on hand to oversee the wine choices.
As RnR-goers cruised the arena’s concourse sampling the culinary wares of 21 of Wichita’s finest eating establishments and kept an eye on their silent-auction bids in the Preferred Health Systems Multipurpose Center, performance artist Michael Potts ’01 painted two works of art, one Shocker-inspired and the other in the likeness of Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. The two artworks were later auctioned off, their purchase prices contributing to the live-auction’s gross of $76,000. A “NASA, Naturally” travel package to Houston was among the larger grossing items of the night, going for $6,000. Purchaser Heidi LaForge is now set to travel where few others have gone – on a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA, where she’ll meet NASA Shockers.
In silent auction action, out of the hundreds of item choices, the two top grossers were the autographed Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album and the chance to be an Honorary Men’s Basketball Coach for a game, bringing in $1,100 and $1,200 respectively. “Our acquisition-team volunteers collected so many great items for us – everything from a pair of Adirondack chairs, to billboard advertising, to a WuShock sock monkey,” notes Rachael Hush, the association’s assistant director of alumni events who was the staff coordinator of the silent auction.
“I’d really like to thank all of our silent auction volunteers,” Hush adds, “especially Frank Chappell, who helped out so much!” Chappell ’68 is one of the event’s longest-serving volunteers, with service going back well before RnR’s premier nine years ago to the association’s Shocker Auction.
“We couldn’t have reached the level of success we did this year – netting just about $120,000 – without the support of all of our volunteers and attendees and contributors and restaurants and sponsors and purchasers,” says Debbie Kennedy ’94, president and CEO of the alumni association. “A special thank you goes to our presenting sponsors, Mel Hambelton Ford and Preferred Health Systems – but we simply couldn’t have done it without each and every one of our Shocker supporters. Thank you all for helping raise funds for the WSU Alumni Association’s wide-ranging programming in support of higher education at Wichita State. Rockin’ the Roundhouse 2012 was definitely something special!”