The Brightside to host Stivers fundraising concert featuring funk, jazz, reggae



Stivers School for the Arts allows seventh-grade through 12th-grade students to focus on one discipline such as performing arts, music, creative writing or visual arts. As evidenced within many public schools throughout the United States, there is always need for additional financial support. As so, The Brightside in Dayton is hosting “Rise Up: A Seedling Foundation Fundraiser” on Friday, Dec. 9. The Love Locz Experiment, Freekbass and Crabswithoutlegs will perform in this benefit for the nonprofit that supports Stivers’ arts programs.

“Stivers is part of the Dayton Public Schools and we don’t receive any more or any less than anybody,” said Seedling executive director Christie Baker. “Seedling Foundation is where we’re bringing in all of those extra dollars to help fund all of the additional programming above and beyond the budget we get from the district. We literally couldn’t survive as an arts school without Seedling providing that gap fundraising for all the programming we do.”

Carli Dixon, owner of The Brightside, is a proud Stivers parent and a Seedling Foundation board member. She says her multi-purpose venue made perfect sense for this type of event.

“Sometimes there’s synergy with the creative-based performances and arts education,” Dixon said. “Here we are less than a mile away from Stivers with this performance space that has different size capacities. We’ve got relationship within the community that supports this kind of endeavor anyway. Once I was exposed to (Stivers) and its mission, the teaching community, the administrative community and all the students that are inside the school, the combination was sort of undeniable. It’s like an obvious community gem that you just want to support.”



The program

“Rise Up” begins at 7 p.m. with a VIP cocktail hour with food from Jack & Rich. VIP tickets are $75 and general admission is $20 with entry at 8 p.m.

“We’ll have appetizers and there will be one drink included,” Dixon said. “Whenever you have an opportunity to show up early to the event, you’ll get first access to event parking. It’s another way for people who are early birds to get out and catch part of this and not have to be out for the whole night. It’s also a way to make a contribution at the next level. We really hope the VIP is the moment people walk away feeling this was a special show and an unexpected performance. That’s what we’re trying to put together.”

Crabswithoutlegs will perform during the VIP cocktail hour.

“We wanted to include performers that had gone to Stivers and there are a couple of graduates in Crabswithoutlegs,” said Libby Ballengee of Venus Child Productions. “They’re a 12-piece jazz fusion band with horns that recently made a splash at The Brightside. They’re all under 21 and they’re really talented so we’re featuring them during our VIP cocktail hour. There might be a little bleed over into our main show but that’s an exclusive set for VIP ticket holders.

“Our feature act is Love Locz Experiment,” Ballengee continued. “I’ve watched that band over the years, and they’ve really hit their stride. They usually play out quite a lot but they’re really limiting their fall performances to this one, which is awesome. They’re focused on this and excited to play the ballroom stage. We wanted to have something that was fun for everybody and we thought reggae would work with jazz fusion and funk.”

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Cincinnati funk musician Freekbass will close out the night with a solo set.

“I’ve been trying to sneak Freekbass in for a while now,” Ballengee said. “He played Levitt this summer, so I didn’t want to book his full band, but he also does this DJ thing, Solo Grooves. We should have people coming and going throughout the night and that will be a fun way to end the show. We’ll have people coming early for the VIP and other people coming later so we’ll have Freekbass for our slightly later crowd. We wanted to have a little bit of variety but keep it fun.”



Future fundraising

According to Baker, who took over as executive director in July, the Seedling Foundation will announce a spring fundraiser during “Rise Up” and attendees will be able to purchase discounted tickets.

“This is the first in a concert season and we’re going to be springboarding off of this,” Baker said. “We hope to continue this for many years to come. We’re really reinvigorated with some new energy. We have a couple of new board members coming on so we’re going to have a lot of great things happening. We’re really excited about the direction we’re moving in.”

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Partnering with The Brightside for the fundraiser was a chance to make it a wider community event, particularly reaching out to Stivers supporters disconnected from the school.

“The diaspora of people connected to this school reaches so far and wide but it’s really difficult to have an entry point to bring everybody back in,” Dixon said. “Big, beautiful events like Stivers Celebrates or events that happen at that school, the participation level of the kids currently involved and their parents pretty much maxes out the ability for attendance or for a connection.

“A lot of people in the community have an association or a past with (Stivers),” Dixon added. “When they don’t have kids at the participation age anymore, what is their mechanism for jumping in and showing support? This kind of event is the beacon that says, ‘Come and reconnect.’ "

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at


What: “Rise Up: A Seedling Foundation Fundraiser“ with the Love Locz Experiment, Freekbass and Crabswithoutlegs

Where: The Brightside, 905 E. Third St., Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9

Cost: $20 general admission, $75 VIP access and 7 p.m. entry

More info: 937-410-0450 or

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