GARNER | The gym at Garner-Hayfield/Ventura Elementary School was rockin' Wednesday with the music of the 1950s.

Concerts by Buddy's Buddies help finance Winter Dance Party Musical Scholarships.

The organization has provided 80 scholarships and awards in memory of Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Ritchie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson. They were killed when their plane crashed north of the airport in Clear Lake on Feb. 3, 1959.

In 2002 a show was put on by the artists for students at E.B. Stillman Auditorium in Clear Lake. About 450 students and 50 adults attended the program, establishing the tradition. The proceeds were used to start the scholarship fund.

In 2006, Buddy's Buddies started playing in Garner as well as Clear Lake.

Wednesday's program at Garner included a costume contest, performances by Rickie Lee, Tommy Allsup, Tony Marsh and Kevin King and lots and lots of dancing.

"Here Tommy sings with the school choir. It's a very, very colorful occasion," said Paul King of Northamptonshire, England, the producer of Buddy's Buddies. "It gets better every year."

Allsup and the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura High School jazz choir performed "How Great Thou Art."

Buddy's Buddies membership totals around 26, including 20 from the United States and six from Great Britain.

"Here you'll see lots of kids dressed up," King said. "It's a great community thing. We have some older people coming in from the care homes, and the kindergarten and they love it."

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