March Mingle replaces Taste and Savor to benefit CISTA

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Preparing the March 16 benefit, March Mingle, are CISTA staff members (l-r, front row) Rhonda Tinsley and Heather Masten; and (back row) Cindy Hook, Communities In Schools board chairperson Sherri Tuckey, Diane Savoia and Lisa Kirby. Photo by Jim Lincoln.

Thousands of people have enjoyed “Taste” and “Savor” fundraisers for Communities In Schools of the Tecumseh Area (CISTA), but this year the two events have been merged into one. The new event is called “March Mingle,” which will be held Saturday, March 16, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

That is not the only big change. Formerly, “Taste” was held at Tecumseh High School, and “Savor” at Cambrian Assisted Living. This year, “March Mingle” will be at the new AJ Smith Recreation Center, 810 N. Evans St., in Tecumseh.

“We are so grateful to Tecumseh High School and Tecumseh Public Schools for hosting ‘Taste’ for so many years, but wine and beer will be available for purchase at this event, so the AJ Smith Center is the easier venue,” CISTA director Heather Masten said.

With the new location at the recreation center, where many sports are played, the CISTA board decided on a sports theme for the evening. “We encourage everyone to dress in their favorite team’s colors or even wear a jersey from the team.” The only attire restriction is no high or spiky heels. “We don’t want to poke holes in the new floor. Wedges would be fine, though,” she said.

Besides the opportunity to see the interior of Tecumseh’s newest civic structure, there will be food provided by 19 area restaurants, in addition to the aforementioned spirits that preclude attendance by anyone under the age of 21. The catering restaurants will be serving their specialties only until 7:30 p.m. The new location is spacious enough to accommodate the event, but patrons will not need to do as much walking from restaurant to restaurant. The food area will be centralized.

As with past events, there will be entertainment. This year, music will be provided by “Piano Wars.” Masten described the musicians as dueling pianos. “They’re a very high-energy, interactive music show,” she said. “There will also be a silent auction as in years past.”

CISTA funding depended heavily on the “Taste” and “Savor,” and no less on the new “March Mingle.” The organization receives no financial support from the school district, so CISTA staff and board members are working diligently crafting the decorations and making last minute preparations. “We will begin at 4 p.m. on the Friday before the event getting things ready inside the rec center,” said Masten. “Anything we don’t get done on that day, we will finish up Saturday morning, but we have a good crew and we’re in good shape to pull it off.”

She said that CISTA is grateful to the many local businesses who are sponsors of the event, including Robert E. Price Foundation, Tecumseh Kiwanis, Thomas and Jeanette Meyer, Marty and Carol Boot, Allegiance Health, Schmidt & Sons Pharmacy, the Job Schultz Agency, Montalvo Real Estate Team, Sunderland Insurance, and Foundation Realty, “but especially our principal sponsor, United Bank & Trust.”

CISTA’s primary goal is to help students stay in school through graduation. In the last school year alone, the organization helped over 2,500 Tecumseh Public Schools students, with the help of more than 600 parent volunteers, who provided 4,100 hours of service.

Tickets are $40 and round-trip rides are available in advance from Tecumseh Trolley (423.3335). Tickets are available at UB&T main branch, Tecumseh Big Boy, Boulevard Market, Sunderland Insurance, from any CISTA board member or by calling CISTA at 423.7574 or logging on to

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