WEST SPRINGFIELD – A local band made up of middle school teachers will be hosting its second annual Chalk Dust and Friends benefit at the Dante Club on Nov. 20.
West Springfield Middle School teachers Chuck Dufault, Dave O’Connell, Bryan Ouimet and Chris Taft, as well as Jeff Hamilton, who teaches at Kiley Middle School in Springfield, hosted their first benefit last year to raise money for the Cancer House of Hope. The event raised about $2,000 for the organization.
“Last year was fun and we got a lot more people to come than originally planned,” Dufault said. “Last year’s expectations were really modest, and it went well. We’re hoping for the same thing, maybe more.”
Dufault said the Chalk Dust and Friends benefit received support from the band’s coworkers, family and friends. They are hoping that this year it will grow even further to touch the West Springfield community.
“I think it’s important because we really like the charities we are going to be working for,” he said. “On top of that, it’s a great social event for not just the middle school, but hopefully it will expand to the district too.”
Dufault said the goal is to raise awareness about the positive work both the Parish Cupboard and the West Springfield Partnership for Education do.
“The Partnership has been around for quite a while and could use a bit of fundraising support,” he said. “At the Parish Cupboard, it’s just amazing the amount of people they serve. It’s just awareness that these organizations exist. People can come out and enjoy themselves and feel like they’re helping people out, as well. It’s cool.”
Chalk Dust is scheduled to perform yet again, as well as The Tremors, a band from East Longmeadow, Abby Russell, the daughter of a middle school teacher and Andrew Geano, a singer and songwriter who will perform an acoustic set.
For questions or to make a donation, contact O’Connell at email@example.com. Tickets will be available for $10 from Assistant Superintendent and West Springfield Partnership for Education board member Kevin McQuillen and at the Parish Cupboard. Food is included with the ticket.