November 6 – Patrons at the State Theater on Friday night were prepped for a show. Drinks in hand, people chatting and rocking as they listened to opening band The Way We Roll. When The Flying Toasters, the main act, appeared on stage, some people went to the pit at the front of the theater to dance.
However, the event was about more than dancing to the music and having fun. Organized by the Cass County Domestic Violence Task Force, the Denim and Lace Gala will help its mission to educate people about domestic violence and find resources for those in need.
“Every day it impacts the community,” said Jill Rife, chairman of Cass County’s Domestic Violence Task Force.
Rife said there are many reasons why it can be difficult for people who are being abused to leave. She also said it is not always clear when someone is a victim of domestic violence, adding that domestic violence has a huge impact on children, even when the violence is not directed against them.
“It could be your neighbor,” she said. “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.”
Rife wanted to emphasize that help is available. The task force has a 24-hour hotline that people can call for support and resources at 574-722-2119.
As the music continued, several task force board members and volunteers stayed near the theater entrance for large stragglers. To one side of the lobby was a small table with phone numbers and resources for those dealing with domestic violence.
On another table across the room was a vase of flowers and white tent sheets on the purple tablecloth. Each sheet of paper was printed with the name of a Cass County resident who lost his life to domestic violence. Some people paused to read the names as they walked through the lobby.
While the need for the event was bleak, the goal of the organizers was to give people a good time. Roxanne Galbreath, a volunteer with the task force, said this year’s gala took nearly a year to plan. The bands were booked almost a whole year in advance, and plans are already underway for next year’s gala, which will be its eighth year.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said.
It seemed like that hard work was paying off. The theater was packed with Cass County residents who wanted to support the task force and came to enjoy their Friday night with friends and family.
“We wholeheartedly support the Domestic Violence Task Force. And the music is good,” said Michelle Henry.
“We will always come out to support a good cause,” added James Evans.
Many loyal fans of The Flying Toasters were also present. Before taking the stage, the band had a meet & greet with some of the gala sponsors. After they started playing, people stood at the front of the stage to dance and sing along to songs like Jump, School’s Out and Proud Mary.
“I’ve always been a fan of The Flying Toasters,” said Jen Palmer. “I’ve been seeing them for years and years and years, but I haven’t seen them in several years. And it’s for a good cause.”