Recycling rockers to raise funds for Butler BLAST!

Back by popular demand, the recycling rock group Vocal Trash will be back in Fort Dodge to support Butler’s Learning After School Time, or BLAST!

Tickets are on sale and range from $25 to $15 for the Oct. 26 concert.

“This is the third time back. And we are getting people from Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines, all over buying tickets,” said Cheryl O’Hern, of Noon Rotary. “They have a huge following, so that’s why we’re saying we highly recommend you buy your tickets ahead of time.”

The concert is sponsored by Fort Dodge Noon Rotary, Fort Frenzy, Iowa Central Community College and Fort Dodge Community Schools.

Vocal Trash combines uniquely recycled musical instruments, such as their one of a kind bass and guitars, with an industrial percussion section made-up of metal trash cans, plastic barrels, water bottles and other landfill rescued items.

BLAST! is a three-hour program that meets every day after school at Butler Elementary designed to support working families.

“We’re an educational after-school program,” said BLAST! Coordinator Lyndsey Steck. “So we work on homework, math and reading enrichment skills. After that we do other enrichment activities such as STEM and computer. We do crafts, cooking, science experiments, and we have partnerships with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Webster County Conservation and Public Health.”

The program in May reached the end of its 21st Century Learning Center Grant funding, which covered 75 percent of its costs. Students are now charged between $20 and $100 a month, based on their free or reduced lunch eligibility.

“It costs about $1,000 per student to keep a student in this program for the entire year,” O’Hern said. “We’re hoping with Vocal Trash, we can raise $20,000. That would take care of 20 students for the school year.”

All expenses have already been paid, she said, so 100 percent of the concert proceeds will go to BLAST!

Documentation from the program shows how it has improved reading and study habits, O’Hern said.

“The statistics we’ve put together of last 10 years of this program have all shown that this is one of the top programs in the state,” she said.

“It has seen huge results. Other programs in the state have tried to mirror their programs after what the Fort Dodge BLAST! after school program is.”