When your event more than doubles its donations from the year before, you can consider it a resounding success. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital earned that right with their 2018 St. Jude Songwriters Session. The Songwriters Session is a musical showcase to raise money to treat children suffering with life threatening diseases. The hospital’s motto is to “ensure no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude.” The sold out event hosted at Block 41 invited guests to “eat, drink, and rock” as they enjoyed dinner and cocktails, participated in live and silent auctions, and were treated to live performances by singer songwriters Beth Nielsen Chapman, Gordon Kennedy, Dan Navarro and Mycle Wastman.
Evia’s involvement with St. Jude dates back 10 years to participation in a fun run, but now being involved in the Songwriters Session represents something special for Evia Owner and CEO Hilary Laney. According to Hilary, “The fact that we’ve been a part of it since conception and helped build what this event is and get the support from the community is incredible.” Hilary joined the planning committee for the Songwriters Session at the beginning, and she didn’t hesitate to get more Evia team members involved. Jennifer Nelson, an Event Project Manager at Evia, is in her 2nd year of managing the video capture at the event, and this year, she also served as Logistics Chair.
Jennifer and the logistics committee designed the event experience so that every guest in the room would feel like an active participant. The room was set up with a robocam focused on the stage, a stationary camera farther back, and two giant screens projecting to the crowd. Jennifer explains that by adding the projectors and cameras, “it was a game changer for how people experienced the event.” No matter where guests were seated, they got to feel like they were enjoying the entertainment from the front table.
The night also included a live auction. Auction packages ranged from a behind-the-scenes Fox Sports Broadcast Seahawks Experience to a Space Needle Remodel Reveal party to a “Jimmy Buffet is Taking You to Margaritaville” experience.
According to Evia’s Director of Business Administration, Lila Williams, who attended the event and participated as a volunteer, “the venue and entertainment more than lived up to expectations.”
The most memorable moment of the night according to Lila was a performance by a local patient and St Jude survivor named Addie. A talented teenaged songwriter, she performed her own songs and closed out the night by singing with the entire cast.
The Songwriter’s Session raised $225,000, more than double the amount donated the previous year. According to Jennifer Nelson, there were many factors that contributed to a successful night, from the auction items, many of which went for over $10,000, to the engaging stage experience that was enhanced by the additional cameras and screens, and finally, a great night of music.