Alumni Basketball and Band Jam Saturday

What may soon be an official Rally in the Valley event is coming back again this year. The VCHS Alumni Basketball and Band Jam will be Saturday, June 16th. The jam consists of the VCHS Reunion Marching Band performing in the annual Rally in the Valley parade plus an All 80’s and 90’s Alumni Basketball game to be held at the City Auditorium in Valley City.

Starting at 10 a.m., the VCHS Hi-Liner Reunion Marching Band will perform in the Rally in the Valley Parade down Central Avenue. at 4:00 p.m. The VCHS Alumni Basketball Game and Pep Rally will take place in the City Auditorium.

“Two years ago, when a group of us put together the reunion marching band, we never imagined it would grow into an alumni basketball game and pep rally, but it did and it’s been so fun to put together,” said Susie Maresh Lloyd, one of the event’s organizers.

Lloyd said “last year was the first year we did it. We are seeing much more interest this year, especially for basketball. People from the 70s and 80s will be coming back.”

Due to the All 80’s Reunion happening in town during the Rally in the Valley, the basketball game have some Hi-Liner all-stars returning to the court one more time, including Kami Anderson, a two-time All State selection for the VCHS girls basketball team and Stanford’s 18th all-time leading scorer. Teaching alum Terry Stargardt, will also play.

There will be a 3-point shooting contest at half-time pitting sharpshooters from the 80s against the 90s. Greta Fadness Handgis, class of 1987, will take on Natalie Birchem Potratz, class of 1997, and Steve Kelly, class of 1983, will challenge Mike Fitzner from the class of 1992.

As of Thursday, 23 men and 19 women from the 1980s and 1990s contacted sponsors to say they were going to make the game.

Lloyd said Anderson’s brother Justin, a VCHS basketball starter and former LSU player, wanted to attend, but was unable to make the event. “She (Kami) is making time to be back. It will be an 80s versus the 90s game - it should be exciting,” Lloyd said.

After the band’s initial march down Central Avenue, alumni’s Rory Beil and Stacy Birchem Ingstad threw out the idea of having an alumni basketball game as well. “When I heard the band play those old songs in the parade, it instantly transported me back in time when I played basketball as a Hi-Liner, while the band rocked out the auditorium,” said Beil. “We knew we could capture it again and last year we did with the first ever 80’s and 90’s alumni basketball game.”

Last year’s game raised more than $1,200 in donations for the current band program at VCHS. The band was able to purchase items that would never be in the budget including handles for the marching cymbals, a new vibraslap, first time new concert castanets, two new crash cymbals and stands, which they have never had, a new bass drum and new heads for the tri-toms. This year all money raised will go to the VC Hi-Liner Athletics Booster Club. “We really want both the current music and athletic departments to benefit from what we are doing,” says Paula Bestge Klein, another organizer.

“We really can’t believe how the whole community has embraced both the band and now the basketball game,” said Lloyd.”

This year, other businesses have stepped in asking to be a part of the game and the band, including Miller Motors which plans to have cold water for the band at the end of the parade. “If you consider that some of the members of the band are closing in on 50, a water sponsor after marching 14 blocks and playing your instrument is the perfect sponsor,” said Paula Bestge Klein.

Lloyd said more than 100 people are expected for the reunion marching band. “We plan to practice playing 8:00 p.m. Thursday night and practice marching 5:00 p.m. Friday in Chautauqua Park.”

Admission to the Basketball Game and Pep Rally will be $3. All proceeds will be donated to the VC Hi-Liner Booster Club.