Haddonfield Educational Trust throws its first Rally in the Alley

Music event to support improvements at high-school auditorium

The Unstoppable Hackbeats will be the leading act at the Haddonfield Educational Trust’s Rally on the Alley, Saturday, Nov. 19. Funds raised will benefit the high school’s auditorium improvement trust. (Courtesy of Greg Skoufalos)

The Haddonfield Educational Trust (HET) will hold its first Rally in the Alley, a highly anticipated music event, at the Mechanic Street parking lot on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“Because our fundraisers for the Haddonfield Educational Trust have traditionally been a golf tournament that we hold every June, and that has a very limited audience, we wanted to do something that would appeal to a larger group of people,” explained Maureen Eyles, HET vice president. 

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The rally will feature Haddonfield singer-songwriter Matt Portella and The Unstoppable Hackbeats, a band that performs music from the ‘70s to the ‘90s and “is sure to get your feet dancing,” Eyles said.

Participating restaurants include CafeLift, Passariello’s, Mare Monte, Seashore Smoothies and Sparrow’s Snacks, and more will be announced in the near future. Food and beverages, as well as alcohol, are included – attendees must be 21 and older – and participants are encouraged to walk or bike, since parking is not included.

“We thought a fun street festival with live music, drinks and food would be a really fun way to get the community engaged and spread awareness for our cause,” noted Eyles, who added that there will be tents, heat lamps and bathroom trailers nearby.

The HET raises funds during the year for a number of projects in the borough schools that are outside the district’s regular operating budget. That has included funding teacher grants; elementary-school playground enhancements; and, most recently, the high school’s beautification project, which takes unused or underused outdoor spaces and turns them into usable areas. That initiative has resulted in a new outdoor cafeteria and amphitheater at the school.

“The beautification project was a perfect example of a project that was not funded by a referendum and was supported completely by donations,” Eyles explained. “It was a multiple- year project, and I think it’s a great example of how the HET can champion a project and shepherd the fundraising, and then see delivery of a final accomplished goal.”

Proceeds from the Rally in the Alley will go to the HET’s Auditorium Improvement Fund, to help pay for $2 million in repairs for the high-school auditorium, a project the trust and the borough board of education have discussed since 2019. Eyles noted that while the auditorium was state of the art when it was built in the 1920s, students have had to make sacrifices to continue performing there.

Should the improvements be within the scope of a 2023 bond referendum, Eyles said the auditorium funds could be used to fund projects not covered by the referendum, like improving stage lighting or purchasing a new sound board. Conversations about the scope of the referendum continue; nothing has been finalized yet.

Rally in the Alley hours are 5 to 8:30 p.m.Tickets are $80 a person in advance or $100 at the door, with a 200-person limit. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.haddonfieldeducationaltrust.org/rally-in-the-alley-2022.

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