An Evening of Elegance
Brooks Library's annual Evening at the Brooks helps raise money for students and the community
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Purple stage lights danced around the room during last year’s Evening at the Brooks, as men twirled women in little black dresses across the dance floor. Star decorations glittered overhead as a woman stood beside a jazz ensemble and sang a light and catchy tune. Other party-goers sat at round tables and chattered over glasses of wine.
“Our dean [Patricia Cutright] came up with the idea of the gala [about four years ago], and I just implemented her vision… And it came out very well the first time so we’ve stuck with it,” Michele Reilly, the associate dean of libraries, said with a smile. “We wanted to feature the talents that we have here at the university and in the community.”
The Brooks Library is partnering with the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce to hold its fourth annual gala and silent auction. The evening will feature music, hors d’oeuvres, wine, art and student performances. Usually, between 150 and 250 students and community members attend. A few of the items up for auction include a variety of artwork, two Jazz in the Valley tickets and a Purity Soapworks basket.
“I had seen it done in another library,” Patricia Cutright, the dean of libraries, said. “It was an amazing demonstration…I saw it as an opportunity for the people of Ellensburg to see the library and resources.”
The night will begin at 7:30 p.m. with short speeches from CWU President James Gaudino, CEO of Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce Jim Armstrong and the Friends of the Library. All four floors of the library will then be transformed for the gala with a different activity on each.
The Ellensburg Big Band with Music Director Josh Parrill will perform songs such as “Come Fly with Me,” “Cheek to Cheek” and “Why Don’t You Do Right?” Student musicians from the music department will be performing jazz combos. The Swing Cats will perform and offer swing dance lessons and CWU theatre art students will give a theatrical performance. There will also be an art gallery featuring CWU artists.
“Previous galas featured student poetry and prose. This year, we’re excited to highlight theatre performances by students…[who] are donating their time to the gala fundraiser,” said Elizabeth Brown, instruction coordinator and research librarian.
The proceeds from this year’s event will fund the new Family Friendly Space initiative which aims to provide a more supportive environment for the campus and community families. The initiative will provide expanded services for non-traditional, visually impaired, deaf and autistic students. The library staff hope to reach their goal to provide these expanded services within the next three to five years.
A portion of the proceeds will also be used for a scholarship that will be awarded to a CWU student pursuing one of the Library and Information Science programs.
“I would love to see more students attend,” Reilly said. “Because the proceeds go towards funding projects for students.”