My Uncle Kent Pyle & the 2017 Allen County SPCA "Growl at the Moon" Fundraiser

Kent Pyle with his niece Alicia at the Grand Wayne Center

The hint of upcoming sweater weather in the air, the redeveloped urban landscape along and around Jefferson Boulevard, and the arrival of fall fundraiser season all combine to bring on the excitement for all the wonderful events we have to look forward to in the next couple months. Local non-profits are choosing brilliant downtown venues to set the stage for raising awareness, along with some significant funds, and they’re helping everyone have some serious fun in the process.

One of my favorite fall galas is the always-hip event thrown by the Allen County SPCA. For the past several years, the community’s premiere bash for our critter friends has taken place at the Grand Wayne Center, a location that not only serves as a staple for all things Fort Wayne, but that accommodates the organization’s ever-growing attendance rate for this annual gathering in celebration of the amazing work done in Northeast Indiana to help save pets in need, big and small. 

As a local band leader and music coordinator for a wide range of events, especially in the Fort Wayne non-profit scene, it’s a big treat to be able to attend a fundraiser of this magnitude—as a guest! I’d love to thank my Uncle Kent for his generous donation, purchasing two tables for his friends and Pyle relatives to enjoy the furry festivities.

John O’Connell, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at IPFW (my own musical alma mater), did a phenomenal job as the event’s Master of Ceremonies, keeping the crowd actively engaged and excited throughout the evening’s colorful performances. The Steffen Group was nothing less than marvelous in their auctioneering services, giving a member of each table in the room the chance to shine in exchange for the highest bid. And all for a great cause!

As a professional musician, my favorite element of the event had to be the fact that the performers covered a variety of genres while representing a broad skill range: from novice group song performances to what amounted to stand-up comedy routines, and on to fantastic solo vocalists daring to belt out Whitney Houston classics; from props, to costumes, to the gorgeous Miss Indiana being coaxed up on stage for the moral support (and talent coverage) of select performers. Unknown stars and community fixtures alike took their chance to shine and raise funds for the community’s animals in need.

I took a moment to ask my Uncle Kent a couple questions about his personal experience as a long-time board member and volunteer for the Allen County SPCA. He’s served on the board for almost 7 years now, was Vice President for 2 of them, and is currently in his 4th as President.

Here’s what he had to say:

AP: How did you get invited, or who reached out to you to begin your service for the organization?

KP: I was interviewed to be on the board by then board president Mike DeFreeuw. A person had resigned from the board, so I was interviewed to potentially take that person's spot. I was fortunate enough to be offered the chance to join the board, so I jumped on the opportunity!

AP: What is your favorite thing about being involved with the non-profit?

KP: What I like most about serving on the board of the Allen County SPCA is working with the Executive Director - we have the best around in Jessica Henry - to positively impact the lives of thousands of dogs and cats every year. They can't speak for themselves, so it's nice to be their voice, their advocate. Additionally, with our outreach programs such as Pet Promises and our weekly pet food bank, we assist not only dogs and cats, but those humans who love their pets but need a little assistance to keep those pets. Nothing is more rewarding to me than my small contribution to the Allen County SPCA through my board service.


To find out what you can do today to help the Allen County SPCA, visit:

And don’t forget to sign up for the PyleStyle newsletter to learn more about the events I’m attending or performing for. 

Grand Wayne Center in Downtown Fort Wayne