Starry Nights was born when massive budget cuts due to tax-limiting ballot measures threatened programs at schools across the state in 1996. In this can-do community, concerned parents, school administrators and community leaders came together to develop the Sisters Schools Foundation’s first fundraising event – the Sisters Starry Nights Benefit Concert Series. Organized and staffed entirely by volunteers and co-chaired by Susan Arends, Jeri Fouts and Novella Swisher, the event debuted in 1997 and has been the major source of funding ever since for the Sisters Schools Foundation.
Over the years, Starry Nights has found more innovative ways to support Sisters schools through the production of “A Starry Summer Night” with the High Street Band at Aspen Lakes; a benefit performance of the classic play “Love Letters” starring veteran actors Gregory Harrison and Linda Purl at the Tower Theatre; and a concert by University of Oregon a cappella singing groups “On the Rocks” and “Divisi.”
As the funding crisis continues for Oregon public schools, Starry Nights remains dedicated to producing events that benefit the school district and the students it serves by providing support that helps keep vital programs alive.
The event has featured performances graciously donated by such artists as Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Lyle Lovett, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Kathy Mattea, Rodney Crowell, Kim Carnes, John Hiatt, Keb’ Mo’, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lee Ann Womack, Hal Ketchum, Chely Wright, Kenny Rankin, Nicolette Larson, Suzy Bogguss, Jeffrey Steele, Big Al Anderson and Karla Bonoff