Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

January 3, 2014

Charity fundraiser takes show concept on new road

TRAVERSE CITY — SwingShift and the Stars Dance-Off for Charity is expanding and will introduce a new fundraiser downstate next week in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The new four-month competition — using the same SwingShift Band, singers and format, will debut Jan. 9 at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Bay City. The Great Lakes Bay Region includes Saginaw, Midland and Isabella counties.

“We hope this will be a good fit and that we can grow this and make it work in other communities,” said Harrison, founder of Traverse City’s SwingShift and the Stars fundraiser which launched in 2008. “We plan to take it farther than the Great Lakes Bay Region.”

The decision to expand comes after three years of research and planning, said Harrison, who is SwingShift Band’s lead singer, dancer and CEO of its parent company, High Impact Productions, which includes “Rebooted,” her country band.

The production company is a for-profit business that Harrison uses to help facilitate fundraising for local and regional charities. Harrison uses money from ticket sales to pay her band, rent a venue and cover the costs of promoting the events. Then the money raised during the voting portion of the competition goes directly to the nonprofits.

Harrison said the expansion will not diminish or have any effect on Traverse City’s dance-off and fundraising, which recently completed its sixth year.

“We have our seasons here down to a real science,” she said. “This is our home and where it began. We hope the next community can embrace it like Traverse City has. It is only a good idea if the community takes to it. I’m hoping that is what will happen.”

The Traverse City fundraiser has raised a total $971,000 for 36 community nonprofit charities since its inception. It runs from September to just before Christmas.

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