Smith: Sonoma County zombies wanted for worldwide ‘Thriller’ dance

A flash mob danced to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller" in the town square in Healdsburg on Halloween night, Friday, Ocober 31, 2014.


Coming up in Santa Rosa the next three Sundays is a chance to learn to dance like someone not entirely dead and, perhaps, to set a world record.

Free workshops at the Dance Center are intended for anyone interested in taking part in a worldwide pre-Halloween performance of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video.

The idea is that on Oct. 28, enough people will dance the dance at the same time to make the record books.

This is not the first “Thrill the World” event, but it’s the first in Sonoma County. Last year, according to, an estimated 4,535 temporary zombies did their thing at 96 registered events around the world.

Organizing the Santa Rosa performance, scheduled for 9 a.m. on the 28th at the Dance Center on West 6th Street, is Ellen Murray.

“It’s just totally for fun,” she said. A former Dance Center hip hop teacher, Ellen hopes for a nice, big crowd of all kinds of people.

Participants need not have any dance experience, she said, and they must be old enough only to not “freak out at people dressed up as zombies.”

To register or receive more details, drop Ellen an email at

Preparatory workshops happen at the dance studio this Sunday and the following two at 11:30 a.m.

HOW SWEET: Kids at Santa Rosa Middle School once again are collecting money to help find a cure for blood cancers. But wait.

In the past three years, the campaign of caring directed by the school’s leadership class has raised how much for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? Would you believe more than $50,000?

The middle school has become one of top participants in the Light the Night walk that returns to Old Courthouse Square on Saturday evening.

Leadership teacher Debra LaBrath says inspiration and motivation has flowed from a number of sources.

A few years back, Santa Rosa Middle classmates of Dylan Day labored to honor his saga with acute lymphoblastic leukemia by pitching in to the fundraising walk. Today, Dylan studies at Santa Rosa High and heads up his own team for the walk that starts at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Back at the middle school, student Manuel Garcia goes all out to raise money in the memory of his grandfather. Manuel wrote on his fundraising page at

“I lost my Papo to Leukemia on December 17, 2016. It was the worst day of my life. Papo would take me to football games and we spent a lot of time hanging out at his lake house. My grandfather always made me feel good about myself.”

Manuel alone has raised more than $1,600 for the cause.

COLOMA OR BUST: Maybe you’ve encountered 4th graders from Whited School selling baked goods or trying in other ways to raise money to send themselves and their classmates on a three-day journey of learning to Coloma, birthplace of California’s gold rush.

Teacher Lindsay Frey is proud of what her students have done in raising the more than $16,000 needed for the trip, and aware they have a long ways to go.

She invites us to take a look at

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and