Funkraiser music festival returns to RHS

Fun and funk return to the grounds of Ridgefield High School as the annual Funkraiser heads outdoors for an authentic music festival vibe. On Friday, June 8, from 4-9 p.m., some of the area’s best jazz and funk masters will bring their music to the RHS Promenade, along with food trucks, assorted vendors, a dunk tank, a bouncy house, and activities for even the youngest music enthusiasts.

For the fifth year, the RHS Funkraiser will team the Funky Dawgz Brass Band (featuring RHS alumnus and saxophonist Tommy Weeks) with the RHS Jazz Band to generate funds for the Ridgefield High School Instrumental Music program.

This year, Shere Khan and the Ridgefield School of Rock House Band will also perform, as well as jazz players Robust 7, and Mrs. Gordon, a jazz fusion group.  A second stage for acoustic bands will provide entertainment in between sets, including some singing princesses.

“The whole community is invited to rock out, relax, & enjoy an evening of great music under the stars,” said RHS Band and Orchestra director Michael McNamara (who is also a member of Shere Khan). “We’ve made arrangements to entertain and accommodate music fans of all ages.”

The annual Funkraiser is held to help offset the costs of instruments, special programming and equipment for the RHS Instrumental Music department.  This year, a portion of the proceeds will go toward a students’ performance trip to Disneyworld. Sponsors for the Funkraiser include:

  • Fairfield County Bank
  • Sharps and Flats
  • School of Rock Ridgefield
  • Ridgefield Music Matters
  • Ridgefield Music
  • Ridgefield Suzuki School
  • Fairfield County Summer String Orchestra
  • Ridgefield Thrift Shop

Funkraiser is a family-friendly event. Pack a picnic or enjoy fare from gourmet food trucks, bring lawn chairs and a blanket.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and children 10 and under are admitted for free.  Tickets are available online, or through Mike McNamara at  

About the musicians

The FUNKY DAWGZ BRASS BAND is bringing the music of the Big Easy to the North East! Formed in 2012, this 11-piece New Orleans-style brass band is exploding onto the live music scene with a high-energy blend of brass and percussion. Though based in their home state of Connecticut, they are inspired by the rich musical heritage and traditions of the Crescent City. They offer an exciting mix of New Orleans favorites, their own original music, and add a brass twist to today’s top hits!

The brainchild of Mr. Marvin McNeill, the Funky Dawgz Brass Band met at the University of Connecticut, where each member was a part of the UConn Marching Band. In addition to performing stage shows, the group strives to use their musical talents in giving back to their community. The Funky Dawgz were originally formed as a vehicle to connect, engage, inspire, and rejuvenate music education in Connecticut’s inner city schools. They frequently give performances and master classes to young musicians in elementary, middle, and high schools across the state.

SHERE KHAN started as a way to have some summer fun at Tigers' Den in Ridgefield.  Local and regional jazz and funk musicians and teachers of Ridgefield students joined forwards for a funk residency.  They quickly discovered they had a chemistry for laying it down, and continue to play actively.

RHS JAZZ BAND at Ridgefield High School is an award-winning group of auditioned musicians who take their musical studies very seriously.  While jazz from all eras is the primary source of their repertoire, the group also performs funk, Latin, and fusion music as well.  The band is frequently asked to perform at events within the community and regional jazz festivals. Students in Jazz Band also participate in the concert band and most also participate in the Symphonic Orchestra. Their passion as players and lovers of music is unparalleled.