Swing into Royal Oak history
By Megan Pennefather
Historical Society member Muriel Versagi had her audience, so she needed to make an
And at last week's city commission meeting, she did - with a little musical flowerpot that
played Glen Miller's "In the Mood" as she held up a poster for next week's second annual
Swing Dance that benefits the Historical Society and the Royal Oak Schools Murals
"Bring your best girl," she told the all-male city commission, "or wear your uniforms
or costumes of the 1940s."
BENEFITS MUSEUM, MURALS
Some attendees will don authentic '40s garb, while World War II history buffs display some
significant memorabilia during the event, which will be from 7-11 p.m. March 1 at Royal
Oak Middle School.
School board trustee and Historical Society member Deborah Anderson said the middle
school was an ideal place to hold an event that honors history. "The building was built in
1927," she said, "and the murals are there. We're hoping to open it up so people can view
Those murals, painted in the 1930s and hanging in the auditorium, were fully restored to
their original glory at a cost of about $60,000, said Sandra Wilkins, a co-organizer of the
event. The mural committee is still paying off the bill for the restoration. The Historical
Society, meanwhile, is trying to raise funds to establish a history museum at the old
Northwood Fire Hall.
In addition to dancing, there will be food available from several Royal Oak restaurants and
the popular local band, Rhythm Society Swing Orchestra, will perform the best from the
swing era. There will also be a silent auction and doors prizes of a Nintendo Wii and
Detroit Tigers tickets.
The inaugural event last year drew about 150 people, which Wilkins still considers a
success for the Historical Society and murals committee. But this year, the goal is to bring
out more swingers.
500 TICKETS PRINTED
"We're hoping to double (last year's ticket sales), we've got 500 printed out," said
Wilkins said ticket sales thus far have been healthy, and she's hoping the event will
become a seasonal staple in Royal Oak.
"It's just going to be a fun midwinter, community thing to do," she said.
Tickets for the second annual Swing Dance to benefit the Royal Oak Historical Society and
the schools murals restoration committee are $50 per couple, $30 per individual and $15
for students. For more information, visit www.royaloakswingdance.com.