Ferndale Fine Arts Booster Raffle Helps Students Start Path to Arts Careers

Ferndale Fine Arts Booster Raffle Helps Students Start Path to Arts Careers

(Amy Butters, Jan. 28, 2020)

Ferndale, MI- A recent TV commercial for insurance features two couples meeting for dinner. One asks the server if she’s in school. “Yes, I’m in art school,” she answers. The woman follows up: “Have you thought about how you’re going to make money?”

Contrary to what some might think, there are many careers in the arts. And what better place to get your start in the arts than in your local school district? Ferndale Schools Fine Arts Boosters (FAB) helps support a strong arts K-12 curriculum, over the years exposing countless students to music, dance, theatre and visual arts, and helping pave career paths for many.

Take Natalie Berger. The Ferndale High School graduate participated in many arts activities at Ferndale Schools, earned two college degrees and now is gainfully employed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, creating graphics and videos for the DSO website and social media.

“I think a lot of people believe that working in the arts is not a viable career and the types of jobs you can have are limited. That simply isn’t true,” Natalie said. “You might not grow up to be a Tony Award-winning actor or famous Hollywood film director, but there are still so many ways to incorporate artistic skills that are needed in many companies.”

Natalie graduated in 2012. In college she studied filmmaking and received a bachelor’s at Northern Michigan and a master’s at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

“While my passion still lies within narrative filmmaking, I’m able to sustain that passion in other ways while also having a secure, well-paying job that allows me to take those passions and put them to real-world use,” Natalie says. “The DSO is incredible because there are so many artists here with so many backgrounds using those skills for more than what the expected surface skill is.”

Natalie’s sister, Samantha Berger, was also was active in the fine arts at Ferndale. And she also now works in the arts. After graduating from FHS in 2014, she received her bachelor’s from Western Michigan and now works for Chicago Lyric Opera Company.

While at Ferndale, Natalie was in the marching band’s color guard, sang with Tuesday Night Singers, took dance classes at CASA, and was in the theatre program, beginning with “Oliver” in 2008 all the way through 2012 when she played Jan in “Grease.”

Marching band, choir, dance and theatre — all programs supported by FAB.

In the past three years FAB, a 501(c)3 non-profit group, has provided money for several initiatives. A few examples:

~A trailer to transport orchestra instruments

~Signage for the marching band trailer

~New Band, Percussion and Orchestra instruments

~Band uniforms

~Master classes for students

~Camera for Visual Arts

~Welding equipment for Visual Arts

~Competition fees for Winter Guard

Natalie has many fond memories of her high school fine arts involvement: Senior March at band camp; being the student director of “Dracula” as a freshman; the Halloween candy cannon. These and other high school experiences shaped Natalie’s path as an adult.

“Thanks to my teachers and other parent volunteers, my love for the arts started early in elementary school and I always knew I wanted a career in the arts,” Natalie says. “I think the cross-over I had with so many disciplines really molded me and my career decisions in ways I never expected.”

The woman in the commercial never expected that a young person could make a living in the arts. But FAB expects it. FAB also knows the value of the arts for all career paths, not just those in the arts.

Here’s how you can help FAB support arts education in Ferndale schools:

Buy tickets for the Feb. 1 FAB raffle here:


Tickets are $10 each; the grand prize is $2,000. The drawing will be held at the district’s daylong All City Concert at Ferndale High School. You do not need to be present to win, although the concert is a great event! The choirs perform at 11 a.m., bands at 1:00 and orchestra at 4:00. All performances take place in the FHS gym.

You can also use the same link to make a donation to FAB via Paypal.

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