School holds dance honoring all students

With recent developments on the school board front, John Schuberg isn't exactly sure how to bill the all-night music extravaganza he will direct Saturday night and Sunday morning at Missoula's Prescott School.

"It's supposed to be a celebration of all the kids who went to school there over the years," said Schuberg, who has taught band at the lower Rattlesnake Valley school for the past 16 years. "But now it could be a celebration of the reopening of Prescott."

Whatever Prescott's fate, which could change as early as next week when the recently reconstituted Missoula County Public Schools Board meets to decide if it will carry through with a 3-year-old plan to close the school next month, Schuberg is betting that the Prescott Jam should be a rousing success.

"I don't really know what to expect," said Schuberg, who also teaches band at Rattlesnake Middle School and Lowell School. "But I surveyed my fifth- and sixth-grade band students and about 70 percent said they were going to come."

The all-night dance, which runs from 7:30 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday in the Prescott gym, is open to Prescott alums and any other interested parties. Music for the jam will be provided by about 50 former Prescott band members between the ages of 14 and 30.

"I contacted 50 alumni who are as old as 30, who I have taught over the past 16 years," Schuberg said. "We put together two bands - Band A and Band B - who will play all night."

Schuberg, who will direct both bands, said one-third of the music will be "Big Band, Glenn Miller-style" tunes; one-third will be a potpourri of music from the '60s, '70s and '80s; and the other third will be a Blues Brothers act, led by University of Montana students Lido Vizzutti and Nate Schweber, the infamous, gyrating tuba player from the UM Pep Band.

"Nate and Lido will be emceeing the event and singing every half-hour," Schuberg said.

Schuberg said the Prescott Jam breaks new ground for him, although for years he was responsible for the annual Starlighters Ball at Rattlesnake School, a much awaited yearly social event in middle school circles.

"I've never tried anything like this," he said. "It stems from alumni who are college-age, went to Prescott and remember how great it was. It also comes from people who have always wanted to redo the Starlighters Ball."

Band members who will participate this weekend include eight students from Rattlesnake School, a strong contingent from Hellgate High School and UM and even one member of Schuberg's first fifth-grade band at Prescott, Jory Dellinger. Dellinger, now 30, works at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

"The main idea is to make it a family event like the Starlighters, where parents get to see their kids act older and kids get to see their parents act younger," Schuberg said.

Refreshments, provided by parents of band members, will be available at Saturday's dance, which carries a cover charge of $5 for students, $10 for adults and $20 for families.

Schuberg said that while the event is billed as an all-night affair, organizers do not expect participants to spend the entire night at the gym.

"We know most of the crowd will be gone by 11:30," he said. "But people can stay and we will definitely play all night."

Reporter Gary Jahrig can be reached at 523-5259 or at gjahrig@missoulian.com.

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