Popular cover bands, food and a kids' section made for a winning combination at St. Viator High School's recent September Fest.
The event drew more than 800 people, including alumni and their children, current and former parents, faculty and staff, and residents from surrounding communities.
"We are thrilled at the turnout," said the Rev. Robert M. Egan, C.S.V. "September Fest was intended to bring the community together in celebration, and it did just that."
The fest played out on the back lot of the school campus, with food and drink tents located around the perimeter and a Kids' Corner with a bags game and mini golf holes.
"I think they're onto something here," said St. Viator parent Nancy Sexton of Arlington Heights. "This has been a lot of fun."
Sandwiched in between were three student bands from St. Viator.
Senior Mayo Arogundade and his partner, Alex Jandahl, had the crowd on its feet for three original rap songs.
"We want to show people that rap doesn't have to be negative," Arogundade said. "Our songs are very positive and tell a story."
St. Viator students Nick Frank, James Pickering and Sergio Hernandez were joined by Steven Wagner and Keith Meikrantz of Wheeling High School and Adam Kiel of Rolling Meadows High School to form West Haven Street, featuring That One Band.
Together, they performed three radio hits and one of their own songs called "I Am A Teacher."
For house cover band Saving Sanity, this was not their first time playing for St. Viator. St. Viator students Sara Fecko, Bobby Gallant, Tommy Madaras and Yoon Chang have been performing together more than a year and won the school's Variety Show last fall. Their recent addition, Mark Hoffman, is replacing drummer D.J. Horstmann while he is away at school.
"This was such an amazing experience for us," said Fecko, the lead singer. "We typically play in front of our peers, so it was a little intimidating at first to play in front of an older crowd. The response to our first song was great, it energized us for the rest of the set."
The music fest also offered a gathering place for St. Viator and Sacred Heart of Mary alumni of all years, with a special emphasis placed on reunion years. Graduates from '72, '82, '92 and '02 had reserved sections to reminisce about their high school years and enjoy the variety of music.
Food and beverages were supplied by alumni and current parents. Alumni involved with Millrose Restaurant in South Barrington and Katie's Kitchen in Des Plaines provided food, as well as current parents from Joe Caputo & Sons in Palatine and Harry's of Arlington.
Fr. Egan said festival proceeds will help provide future needs for the school, as well as financial assistance to students and their families. The festival also went a long way toward energizing the school community at the start of the new academic year, he said.
"This is all about bringing the school and surrounding communities together," Fr. Egan said. "Based on the success we achieve this year, we are looking forward to building off this excitement for next year."