Ellie Banke is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Andrea Banke.
This past year, I was cast as the role of Sandra Bloom in the Allstate Musical, Big Fish. Big Fish was recently performed at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival (IHSTF) early January, and I had one of the best weeks of my entire life. The last performance was judged with the potential to go to Nationals, and our company recently found out that we are one of the limited spots to perform on the stage at The University of Nebraska Lincoln in late June at the International High School Thespian Festival. We are all SO excited! Our company is a kind one, a strong one, and a determined one. We worked to put our show together for several months leading up to Allstate, with one rehearsal weekend each month, often times 12 hour days. The days were long, but absolutely worth it. I was pushed physically, mentally, and spiritually on a daily basis. I sweat, cried, and just about tap danced my feet off. Because of this show, I have grown as a performer and as a person, and I am continuing to learn every day. I am so grateful for my wonderful company, as well as all of the family and friends that have supported me every step of the way in my journey with music. Every single second of this journey is one I will cherish and hold close to my heart forever. It is astonishing how so many people's lives were affected at Allstate by Big Fish, and I wish to be able to share it with more people. I truly believe that the arts connect people, and this show brings love with it wherever it goes- on and off stage. While it is fantastic we made Nationals, financially, I do not have the funds to get me there. My mom is a widowed mother who has raised my sister and I on her own. She has worked up to four jobs at a time to support us, and make sure that we have the resources we need to grow. She has always encouraged and supported me every step of the way in my journey with music and musical theatre as much as she can. For those of you that are able to donate- thank you so much. I truly cannot express how grateful I am. Thank you for supporting my passions, and helping me take the next step along my journey. This money will be paying my dues for the whole Nationals trip, as well as helping out with all the supplies I will need to bring with me. Any left over money will go to the all student Nationals fund. As Big Fish has taught me: "What's Next?" is all anyone needs to begin.
Here's to What's Next. Whether you donate or share this, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.