Boys and girls show off musical skills at annual Kukoo Gala

By Lydia Goerner | Aug 25, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Boys & Girls Club members demonstrate their drumming skills after Jo Sallins' summer workshops.

The Boys & Girls Club performances had gala attendees on their feet cheering for the live entertainment provided by young club members Friday night.

The sixth annual Kukoo Gala raised money for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham while educating people on the services the club provides. The year-long Wareham program offers academic programming, computer technology, fitness, arts, health and newly a robotics program. During the school year, the program runs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

An average of 100 people attend the Kukoo Gala each year, said club Director Kenny Fontes. It is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Boys & Girls Club, raising an average of $35,000 for the program. The club, which has 105 members, just wrapped up its Summer Fun Program and begins its after-school program Sept. 11.

In addition to silent and live auctions, people could choose to sponsor a child, providing money for a need-based scholarship.

Before dinner, the children showed off what they have learned at the Boys & Girls Club’s Summer Fun Program, with a drumming demonstration and musical performances. The Summer Fun Program provides “physical, recreational and educational activities in a safe, wholesome environment” for children ages 7 to 14, according to the club’s website. It runs through Sept. 1.

Linda Calise, who has led the club’s music program for two years, taught one day a week this summer. Jo Sallins of Springfield taught the drums workshop three times during the summer.

The drums “take a lot of focus and a lot of discipline,” Sallins said. He said his job as a teacher is to bring out the talent that’s already inside the kids. Gala attendees were on their feet, clapping along with the drums and cheering for performers.

Damon Dows, age 8, danced to every song his friends performed. Dows has been a Boys & Girls Club member for three years. He said his favorite part of the club is the wide variety of field trips offered, from Water Wizz to Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham, visit

Members of the Boys & Girls Club prepare to perform what they learned in the Summer Fun Program, an all-day program for ages 7 to 13. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Pat Stoddard (left) and Marianne Murphy attended the Kukoo Gala together to support the work the club is doing. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Children are served hors d'oeuvres. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Nadia Dows sings "Thinking Out Loud." (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Children dance during the live musical performance. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
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