Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-04-10

The desire of several Samford University students to stage a fancy masquerade ball resulted in a gala event enjoyed by more than 600 and a donation of almost $10,000 to a state arts organization.

Samford School of the Arts vocal performance majors Murphy Maddox and Sadie Frazier presented a check to representatives of VSA arts of Alabama during a ceremony at the school Thursday, April 9. The $9,212.13 donation represented the proceeds from the ball, which was held in November.

The students decided on the non-profit VSA as the beneficiary, Maddox explained, because its mission resonates with the mission of Samford Arts.

VSA arts of Alabama provides opportunities in the arts for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. The 25-year old organization serves about 3,000 Alabamians through its visual arts, music, art therapy and other programs in community, educational and healthcare settings.

VSA executive director Patti Hendrix Lovoy accepted the check on behalf of the organization, which she said depends largely on corporate sponsors and grants.

"We believe the arts are a huge part of the enhancement of people's lives," Lovoy told the students. "Thank you for sharing your talent and generosity with us."

The ball, held on the stage of Samford's Wright Center, gave Samford students, faculty and staff, and community patrons a chance to don their finest and dance to the music of a rock band in a festive setting. A classical chamber ensemble also entertained as guests arrived.

Maddox thanked School of the Arts benefactor Bonnie Bolding Swearingen for her gift that helped make the ball "the spectacular event that it was."

Samford School of the Arts dean Joseph Hopkins said that the effort was noteworthy on several counts.

"It did a tremendous amount of good for an arts organization," said Hopkins, adding that it demonstrates that Samford students want to use their art "for the right purpose…not just about making music or theatre."

Masquerade ball committee members included Elliott Dansby, Holly Long, Elizabeth Rhea, Lindsay Spencer and Jessica Terry. Also assisting were School of the Arts staff members Connie Macon and Suzy Metts.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.