10th annual Shalerpalooza benefit concert returns to Mr. Smalls
For the 10th year, Shaler Area High School students will perform a fundraising concert on the same stage that has hosted national acts such as Snoop Dogg, Interpol and Ziggy Marley.
Shalerpalooza X, slated for 7 p.m. March 9 at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale, will feature a record eight bands and two DJs, as well as several hip-hop artists and solo performers.
Proceeds will benefit each grade's class fund, which offset senior year expenses such as prom, banquets, yearbooks and graduation caps and gowns, said Dale Mangold, event organizer and Shaler Area custodial staff member.
Last year's event raised approximately $3,800 through ticket and T-shirt sales. Mangold hopes to see 450 attendees this year.
“It's not a talent show. It's not a battle of the bands. It's not a competition. It's an experience,” he said. “It's to give these kids an experience not only musically, but just in life. You know, this is an adventure — a taste of what it's like in the entertainment world.”
Musicians will get about 15 minutes to perform. Mangold's band Tobacco Road will provide backing music for solo artists.
Senior Lexi Cerny has participated in Shalerpalooza each year that she has attended high school. She will cover Panic! at The Disco's “I Write Sins not Tragedies” and Halestorm's “Freak Like Me” with Tobacco Road at the upcoming show.
Cerny finds performing at Mr. Smalls “extremely exciting.”
“It gives me a little rock star moment. I realize I've been on the same stage as Smashing Pumpkins and Kesha. And it's really cool to say, ‘Oh, yes, I've performed at a professional venue before I've turned 18 multiple times.'”
Cerny, who plans to study theater production at Youngstown State University, said performing gives her a confidence boost.
Senior Jake Aufman said the event offers a platform for students who aren't in band or choir to showcase their talents and exposes attendees to a variety of musical genres.
His band The Book Club will perform Less than Jake and Streetlight Manifesto songs at Shalerpalooza X.
“It's so cool because you don't realize when you are on stage. It's electrifying. You are filled with adrenaline,” the drummer said.
Mangold started the concert in 2009 when he booked the venue for Tobacco Road. He decided to have his son, a Shaler Area high school senior at the time, and a few other acts from the high school open for his rock band. Proceeds benefitted a scholarship fund in memory of senior Jessica Peluso, who died in a car accident in 2008.
“It just seemed like the minute the show was over, the students were saying, ‘How about next year?'” Mangold said.
The first five years strictly featured bands, then he offered solo vocalists and instrumentalists spots on the event schedule. Later, electronic dance music DJs and beatboxers joined the roster.
Mangold wants to expand next year's concert to include The Funhouse @ Mr. Smalls, located upstairs from the main theater.
“Then we can expand that and showcase some of the student artwork, spoken word, student's poetry and really have it a very nice artistic event.”
After a decade, Mangold, who also performs as a freelance saxophone player, continues to see this event's relevance.
“Music is so important in our lives. It's very therapeutic and it touches us all; and if there is a way that I can help someone with their music, or in general, then I am going to do it. That's who I am.”