GORHAM — Students gathered around a stage set up in the Marcus Whitman High School gym, gearing up for a free concert by The Ready Set yesterday afternoon.
Some held signs, others wore handmade T-shirts and many held up their phones to record the event.
The concert by young pop star The Ready Set — stage name of Jordan Witzigreuter — was the district’s prize for winning radio station 98PXY’s high school fundraising challenge. The district won the same contest — which donates a portion of proceeds to Hillside Children’s Foundation — last year and scored a performance by teen sensation Justin Bieber.
Early Tuesday afternoon, The Ready Set was in the gym doing a sound check before the performance. He stood on the stage, singing into the microphone or sometimes just speaking “check.”
In a technology room across from the gym, he took photos and signed autographs for students in the high school’s Leadership in Action class, which spearheaded the fundraising efforts. Students lined up outside the door and one by one, and sometimes two by two, entered the classroom and stood in front of a 98PXY banner to have their picture taken with The Ready Set.
“I was really excited because it’s our second time winning,” said senior Kara Horn, adding that it was cool to meet someone who has a bight future ahead.
Matt Hey, a junior in the Leadership class, said he didn’t know much of The Ready Set’s music before but has listened to it recently.
“It’s a different experience, very cool,” Hey said after meeting The Ready Set.
Back in the gym, students filled the bleachers, while those from the Leadership class stood in front of the stage. But when DJ Scott Spezzano came on stage he invited all of the students to come down on the gym floor. A crowd flooded down from the bleachers to join those on the floor, though some opted to keep their seats in the bleachers.
A handmade banner in the back of the gym read “Love Like Woe.” Another under it read “The Ready Set” and the date.
The Ready Set performed a handful of songs, and after finishing up with “Love Like Woe,” he promptly left the stage with his band. The single “Love Like Woe,” off the album “I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming,” was released in March 2010 and has sold over 1 million tracks.
Though it was a short set, Jody McLaughlin, social studies and Leadership in Action teacher, noted that it was longer than last year’s performance by Bieber.
McLaughlin said the district has participated in 98PXY’s high school challenge the last three years and said the organization and planning gets better each year. Through the challenge, for which they raised about $1,200 this year, McLaughlin said students learn self-sacrifice, hard work, initiative and responsibility.ꆱ