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West Linn High School hosts annual spaghetti dinner to benefit music program

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The WLHS choir sings for diners at the spaghetti dinner last year.West Linn High School orchestra, choir and band students are looking to classic Italian cuisine in an effort to raise funds for the music program.

Students, parents and other volunteers will host the annual Music Department Spaghetti Feed Thursday, Jan. 18, from 5:30-9 p.m. in the WLHS cafeteria and commons area.

Tri-M Music Honor Society students will be rolling all the silverware for the 900 anticipated dinners, serving and waiting tables.

And with almost 500 music students participating, the entire space will be filled with small groups of bands and singers.

"There's two sides of the cafeteria so they'll just switch sides. No matter where you sit you will hear your child," said Saleen Chenevert, chair of the event.

Chenevert is working alongside other parents like Heidi Cannon, Kathy Brandeberry, Bonnie Rowan, Ruth Burk, Karen Weid and Jackie Wetzsteon, who are handling ticket orders, finding sponsors, decorating, and training students to be greeters and servers.

"Everybody comes back for it," Chenevert said. "It's a great night, it's a warm and fuzzy feeling, and you give back to a program."

The dinner fundraiser, which has been in full swing since 2011, provides the school with a unique way to raise money and bring the community together — all are welcome.

Chenevert, who has a junior in band and a freshman in choir at WLHS, is passionate about the arts and strengthening the music program.

"As the kids grow up I had to say thank you, and this is my way of saying thank you," Chenevert said. "It's just the easiest way to give back."

She also appreciates the parent involvement and said that even three weeks out, two-thirds of the 63 parent-volunteer slots were already taken.

Chenevert added that they are always looking for sponsors — parents or local businesses.

"We try to reach out to the small businesses in the area that support music programs and we ask them to be our sponsors — sponsors pay for anything else that we couldn't get donated," said Chenevert, adding that most of the food is donated. A restaurant in Canby closes down that day so the chef can cook the spaghetti and there's a family that donates all the breadsticks. "That way all of the ticket money we raise goes right into the music program's funds," she added.

The dinner will be split into different shifts at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be $10 for individuals, $30 for families and will be available for purchase at the door or by contacting Chenevert by Jan. 12.

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Saleen Chenevert has two children in WLHS's music program and sees this spaghetti dinner as a great way to give back to the music department.There will also be a raffle — $10 a ticket — for two Hamilton tickets for the April 8 show at the Keller Auditorium in Portland.

The money raised will go toward scholarships, funding for students to attend festivals, purchasing large instruments and much more.

"You cannot rent large instruments," Chenevert said. "You either have to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for the tubas because the insurance on them is insane. So schools have to buy the large instruments, repair them, take care of them. In order to have a band with a full sound you have to do that."

Chenevert said the West Linn-Wilsonville School District has done a great job at supporting the music program at WLHS.

"There's so much need for money in music, so this is our one way of doing it," Chenevert said. "We make the kids work for it. The kids (in Tri-M Music Honor Society) get their volunteer hours this way (and) it's always nice when you can have your kids do the work, learn the value of it and give back to their own program."

Those interested in becoming a sponsor or buying advance tickets need to email Chenevert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Jan. 12.

West Linn Tidings reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281 ext: 112.

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