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Woodchopper's Ball to raise funds for Salvation Army

• Jun 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Two local institutions, D. Baker and Son Lumber Company and The Salvation Army of Grand Haven, are teaming up for a big-band benefit dance to help raise funds for The Salvation Army’s $1.1 million capital campaign to expand its current facility.

The event will be held Thursday, July 13 at D. Baker and Son Lumber Company, 720 Pennoyer Ave. in Grand Haven.

“We have raised about $770,000 of our goal,” said Capt. Jay Davis of the Salvation Army. “We have approximately $330,000 left to raise and we are hoping the Woodchopper’s Ball will help us to raise some of those remaining funds.”

The ball begins at 5:45 p.m. with an hour of music provided by The Heritage Hill String Quartet. Dancing will follow from 7-9 p.m. and will feature the music of The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Bob Nixon. While the GRJO is a contemporary big band, for this event it will be playing from its dance book.

Tickets for the event are available now online at www.sagrandhaven.org and also will be available at the door. Tickets are $25 per person or $15 for high school and college students. Light refreshments will be provided.

A dance at the D. Baker and Son lumberyard is more than appropriate and it all goes back musically to the late Doug Baker, both a lumberman and a professional sax player.

“Doug was a great talent and plenty good enough to have earned his living as a musician in any major market,” said event co-organizer David Schock, who had plenty of opportunities to play with the elder Baker. “And he chose to play as a serious avocation and work in the family business. I think it was he who — in honor of the legendary Woody Herman tune ‘Woodchopper’s Ball’ — dubbed his lumberyard the ‘Home of the Woodchopper.’ And now this event brings it all together again, maybe even as he intended.”

Nada Edson co-owns the lumberyard with her uncle, Bruce Baker. She is one of three fifth-generation descendants who now work at the lumberyard.

"Gramps and Grama instilled a sense of community, goodwill, appreciation of music and all other arts that runs deep through our entire family,” she said. “We are proud to be Bakers and to be able to support the community and the Salvation Army by hosting the Woodchopper's Ball. I think my grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents would be happy with us."

The lumberyard is no stranger to community events. There have been a series of “pop up” arts shows, Art at the Yard, to benefit not only art lovers and local artists but also the Grand Haven Schools Foundation.

The Salvation Army of Grand Haven is in the midst of a $1.1 million Capital Campaign to raise funds to expand its current facility. The expanded facility will include a new multi-purpose room, three classrooms, kitchen, restrooms, office and storage space.

“We are so thankful for how the community has supported us so far during this campaign,” Capt. Sally Davis said. “Our hope is this building expansion will allow us to have the space to continue to provide current and new programs and services to this community like we have done for the last 90 years.”

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