MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Kiwanis Club drew an estimated 350 attendees to the annual Kenneth J. Ploeger Kiwanis Memorial Scholarship Concert on March 8, but the demographics of the audience yielded a slightly lighter take than Ken’s widow Penny would have liked.
“Because most of them were students and their guests, they didn’t pay and we only made about $600,” said Penny Ploeger, a Kiwanian who has carried on the tradition of hosting the memorial concert as a means for raising scholarship money for students in need. “We are interested in serving the community, but we also hope to raise funds for our scholarships.”
This year’s benefit concert featured young Marysville artists and Edmonds Community College’s premier Soundsation Jazz Choir to generate donations for student vocational-technical scholarships, named by the Ploeger family in memory of Ken, a longtime dedicated Kiwanis member, retired Navy electronics technician and city of Marysville employee who believed in the value of scholarships for students entering a vocational trade or career, and who passed away in 2007.
“There was an especially diverse array of talent, but I think my personal favorite was the 10th Street Middle School Jazz Band,” said Penny Ploeger, who also noted the presence of the M-PHS Jazz Band and Choir. “It’s amazing to see what these students have achieved in the short time that they’ve been exposed to an instrumental program, since we have no instrumental program in the elementary schools.”
Ploeger likewise credited the Mountain View Jazz Choir from Meridian, Idaho, with putting on “a wonderful performance,” along with the Soundsation Jazz Choir from Edmonds Community College.
These concerts benefit Marysville students through technology and skills scholarships for classes or community college credits that will prepare them for employment in the public sector, according to Ploeger, who gave special thanks to Marysville School District Music Director John Rants Jr. for assembling the local bands and choirs.
“We have one scholarship student who went into graphic art, one who’s a bookkeeper for her parents’ restaurant and will probably go on to get her MBA, one who went to Skagit Community College to study mechanics and is qualified to fix large semis and machinery, and one who is currently studying to become a cosmetologist,” Ploeger said. “Not everyone wants to go on to a four-year degree, and not everyone can or wants to join the military to get a chance to get a degree. We need people who can serve our community in other capacities. They deserve just as much of a chance to pursue their chosen fields.”
Because the concert didn’t raise enough to cover this year’s $1,000 scholarship, Ploeger and Kiwanis pooled their funds to ensure that the scholarships could continue in Ken’s name.