Sikeston Area Higher Education Center Hosting Annual Benefit Reception

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 26, 2005ᾰThe Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC) is hosting its annual benefit reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 30 at the Center.

The event provides participants an opportunity to tour the Center and enjoy live entertainment and refreshments.  Dr. Kenneth Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, will present remarks at the event, and Robin Stoner, chair of the reception, will make introductions. Judy Buck, director of SAHEC, will provide closing remarks.

This year, the benefit will be introducing a “wishing well” of specialty items, such as science equipment and playground equipment, for interested donors to support. The items will be used to enhance the new child care center and science lab at SAHEC.

 “This annual benefit reception is important for the Center because of the funding it generates for students attending SAHEC,” said Judy Buck, director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center.  “New scholarships, as well as existing scholarships awarded to SAHEC students will benefit from the donations.”

Guest appearances at the reception will be made by country and western singer Wade Hayes and artist Neal Boyd, who is originally from Sikeston, Mo.

Hayes grew up around country music and began playing as a child through the influence of his father who was also a professional musician.  Hayes developed a distinctive style early in his career, inspired by outlaw country and bluegrass.  In 1991, Hayes moved to Nashville, Tenn., playing demo tapes and working on his own original material.  Hayes’ debut album, “Old Enough to Know Better,” was released in 1995 and became an immediate hit with its track title becoming a number one single.  The Academy of Country Music nominated him for Top New Male Vocalist of the Year for 1995.  Hayes released three more albums since then, “On a Good Night,” “When the Wrong One Loves You Right,” and “Highways and Heartaches.”

Neil Boyd, a Sikeston native and graduate of Southeast, is an accomplished tenor nationally known for his many solo concerts, operatic and theatre performances.  Boyd has received numerous vocal awards, including winner of the 2000 National Collegiate Artist Voice Competition of the Music Teachers National Association.  Boyd has also performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.  In 2001, Boyd received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Columbia while simultaneously receiving his bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Southeast.  Boyd is best known for his performances throughout Missouri and was honored to sing at the memorial service for the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the event, making a donation or setting up a scholarship for students enrolled at SAHEC, should contact Jane Stacy at (573) 651-2259 or Judy Buck at (573) 472-3210.