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Candlelight dance set at the Steubenville Marina

STEUBENVILLE — Mary, Seat of Wisdom School Director Marc Barnes admits he could never resist a challenge.

So, when school benefactors told him they’d match ticket sales at two of his upcoming fundraisers, he jumped at the chance.

“It gives us a lot of motivation to put on a good event, and it gives us a sense of a fun competition, almost,” Barnes said. “But it also demonstrates the value that people put into alternative education being available in Steubenville.”

Initially, Barnes said he had a donor willing to match, dollar-for-dollar, the first $500 in ticket sales at a benefit candlelight dance Sunday at the Steubenville Marina.

Then he found out he had two additional donors willing to match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $3,250 in ticket sales at the school’s All Saints Party Oct. 27.

“As a small Catholic school, we’re very much devoted to showing both our members and the community at large that the Catholic faith is a celebration of life and the good things God has given us,” he said. “I would surmise that some of our families have a similar interest in showing that part of our faith to the community.”

With the Ohio River as its backdrop, he said the dance from 6-9 p.m. Sunday should be spectacular.

“We want it to be at sunset,” he said. “We’d like to make the whole place glow with candles, and we’re bringing back Matt Smith. He’s coming with a six-piece jazz band. We really want to make it an exciting time for jazz lovers and dancers.”

Smith provided the musical entertainment at MSOW’s September Jazz Brunch at the marina. “I talked to a lot of people at our jazz brunch (in September) who loved the fact that we were doing something at the marina, and loved the idea of bringing jazz to Steubenville, so, we decided to do it again.”

“Everything I do, I want to do it in such a way that it brings real cultural life to the city,” he added. “Look at thriving cities around the world. One of the great sources of cultural life is a river. It allows for so much. I think one of the most under-utilized parts of Steubenville, so my hope is by continuing to do events at the river we can show Steubenville the possibilities of its riverfront — so we can show it operating at 10 percent so you can see what it would be like if we ever operated it at 100 percent.”

They’ll have hors d’oeuvres and punch for participants, he said.

Proceeds will be used to purchase supplies for the Montessori school, like paper, easels, brushes and paints, tables and specially designed wood-carved games to promote math, science and memory work.

“Our community, the Steubenville community, has a disproportionate number of excellent swing dancers,” Barnes added. “There are swing dances all the time, and one thing I’ve noticed about the dances…is that they are all to pre-recorded music. So I thought it would be excellent to do an event for all dancers where they can actually dance to a live band. Having a live band is like injecting nitro into a dance, it makes it so much more enjoyable for everyone.”

Dance tickets, $10 each, are being sold only at the door, he said.

Meanwhile, Barnes said the All Saints Day Party, to be held from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 27 at All 4 Fun, 4238 Sunset Blvd., Suite A, should be a lot of fun for kids and their families.

“It’s a tradition in the Catholic Church,” he said. “We celebrate everyone who’s been canonized, or said to have lived a holy life. What we’re doing is celebrating that feast as a Catholic school. I love to dive into Catholic traditions, this is one I think we can celebrate with real vigor and joy.”

The family-oriented party will allow participants to “learn about the different saints, enjoy some live music and games, with a trampoline and gymnastics set up,” she said. “There’ll be food and fun for the whole family.”

“What the party does, it gives kids a chance to dress up as a saint, learn about a saint,” he added. “It’s good fun.”

All Saints Party tickets are $25 per family.

‘Steubenville has a very large Catholic community,” Barnes said. “I think it can be very exciting for them to not simply go to church on Sunday, but to live that Catholic life with friends and neighbors in a way that’s very much a (festivity), to realize that Catholic faith affords us all sorts of reasons to party.”

He said the school currently serves about 80 families.

For information, contact Barnes at (740) 512-0162.

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