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Friday, October 31, 2014
Schools
Doing battle for Bellmore-Merrick Wellness Council's post-prom party
Christina Daly/Herald
Emilio Manzo, president of the Community Wellness Council, left, reached out to Steve Eplan, co-owner of The Rock Underground, to help organize the first battle of the bands.

The Midnight Madness post-prom party for Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District students is difficult to finance, according to members of the Community Wellness Council. President Emilio Manzo said the organization planned to hold another disco night fundraiser to benefit the substance-free program until Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg suddenly suggested at a meeting that they host an all-ages battle of the bands.

“He said, ‘You tell me that it wouldn’t be cool to see a father’s band and a son’s band battling against each other,’” Manzo said. “As soon as he said it, light bulbs went off.”

After about two months of planning, council members, business owners and volunteers who rallied around the idea are preparing to host the first battle of the bands for the Bellmore-Merrick community on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the Brookside School.

The Bellmore-Merrick Wellness Council began hosting the post-prom party for seniors and their dates as an option for students looking for a fun, safe after-prom event in an alcohol- and drug-free environment in 2008, Manzo said. But between the rental price for the Midnight Madness location –– Zachary’s Nightclub in East Meadow –– and costs associated with food, giveaways and a DJ, the event has become expensive.

By paying the $10 admission fee for the battle of the bands, Manzo said the Bellmore-Merrick community could help finance the event while having a great time.

“We understand times are tough, but isn’t it worth $10 a head to have someplace safe for a child to be?” he said. “We could save a child’s life.”

Denenberg, of Merrick, has always been a supporter of Midnight Madness because the event promotes youth safety and shows that “you can have fun and be safe at the same time,” he explained. The legislator secured county funding through the Traffic Safety Board for the event in the past, but he suggested that by holding a battle of the bands, the wellness council could raise more money locally and bring people together.

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