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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Just a typical night

By Molly Bayrd
Executive Editor
and Ian Anderson
Executive Editor

Friday, April 30, 2004

It was just a typical night -- a few cowboy hats, dinner at the Char House and a little dancing to the tunes of a live band. Toss in a few fancy dresses, a king and queen, and what have you got? To be fair, you've got a prom -- the Northfield High School (NHS) prom, to be exact -- but the "big night" for NHS students is certainly not the typical formal affair one might expect. The only "formal dance" of the Northfield school year, NHS prom was held April 24 at the American Legion on Hwy. 3. Aside from a small trellis and a few luminaria at the building's entrance, the dancehall showed little sign of any formal happenings. The 589 students -- juniors and seniors only -- who attended the dance this year wore relatively casual clothing. One female student had on a pair of sweatpants and no shoes, while another wore a 1920s flapper costume. Many of the male attendees chose to ditch their ties for the evening (several women were seen sporting the discarded accessories). And it didn't stop there. Many girls took the easy route for hairstyling and dress selection ("My aunt did [my hair]," NHS Senior Laura Pellant said); at $40 a ticket, most students were satisfied with forgoing the costs for salon-quality hairdos and overpriced Jessica Mclintock gowns. With live band "Johnny Holmes' Traveling Fun Show" performing raucous hits -- from Black Sabbath tunes to Keith Urban hits  and occasionally pulling students on stage to sing ("I tore the house down with some cheap trick," Senior Stephan Lindley said), the NHS prom was alive with movers and shakers too busy having fun to worry about their appearances. Surprisingly enough, students cleared the floor for the DJ-run tunes only to come alive when Johnny Holmes reclaimed the stage. "The DJ music is terrible, but I'm having a good time," Senior Davis Wille said before hitting the dance floor when Holmes' band took the stage. The band, which has played at NHS prom since the early 90s, is one of the most expensive acts on the market for gigs such as formal dances. NHS paid $8500 for the band this year -- 50 percent of their prom budget -- but "the band just does a great job," Prom King Andy Maus said. Prom coordinator Kristen Cade, a Kindergarten teacher in Northfield, said that Holmes only plays two proms in the state -- the other being St. Cloud Apollo's yearly formal -- and that the band will be back for at least two years due to popular demand. "The kids love them," Cade said. Cade continued to explain that while the dance itself is relatively informal, the Grand March -- which takes place at the high school four hours prior to the dance (to allow for dinner at out-of-town restaurants) -- is extremely fancy. This year's march was saturated with Brazil-themed decorations, fully buttoned shirts and formal photos by Northfield photographer Larry Hoffman. With all of the formalities set aside prior to the dance, students could kick back when they reached the Legion. "It's been really fun," Junior Jana Malecha said of the relaxing evening. Maus echoed her sentiments. "I'm pretty much on top of the world tonight," he said. Aside from the cliché dance floor make out sessions (the bands rendition of Deanna Carters Strawberry Wine was a huge facilitator of romance for the evening) and the overwhelming number of similarly colored dresses ("There [was] a lot of pink and red," Art Teacher Katherine Broderius said), NHS prom was an informal night to be remembered.

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