Sandy Jasper of Elfsong performs during the fifth Celebration of Light Dec. 20 at the Ladysmith Eagles Hall.

Sold-out variety concert raises nearly $4,500 for Ladysmith Food Bank

The Ladysmith Celebration of Light was another huge success, raising $4,406.70 and 700 pounds of food.

The Celebration of Light was another sellout and another huge success.

A Christmas fundraiser for the Ladysmith Food Bank organized by Skellig and the Rock Christian Fellowship and sponsored by local businesses, service clubs, individuals and churches, the variety concert was held Friday, Dec. 20 at the Ladysmith Eagles Hall.

The fifth Celebration of Light raised $4,406.70 for the Ladysmith Food Bank, which Lisa Burness of Skellig says is almost the same amount as last year. That total could jump to more than $6,000 if Starbucks is successful in getting a $2,000 grant again this year.

The evening also raised 700 pounds of food, which is more than last year.

“We had lots of people putting $20 bills in the donation jars and lots of positive comments,” said Burness. “I was pleased.”

This year’s concert featured music by Elfsong, Rev Up and the Deadbeat Deacons, Dead Byrds, Ryan McMahon, Murray Atkinson, Kendall Patrick and the Headless Bettys, and Skellig. There were also carols by the Ladysmith Celebration Brass outside the Eagles Hall.

This year, organizers tried to make the event even more family-friendly by including new features such as a visit from Santa and a tree decorating contest, and Burness felt it went really well, and they will try to expand the offerings for children even more next year.

Burness is grateful to all the musicians who volunteer their time to perform at the event, the volunteers who help set it up and clean up afterwards and everyone who makes this a success.

“It’s such an honour to work with such fantastic musicians who give their time up every year,” she said. “The Eagles are just wonderful; I can’t say enough about them. They let us use the hall for free, and the men and women both give us a significant donation. The people from the church are so full-on; they’re there right from 3 p.m. to when we’re cleaning up at midnight. It really is a pleasure to do something for the community where the community gives so much back.”

The community is so generous that the organizers have zero expenses, and they can donate everything that is brought in that night to the Ladysmith Food Bank, explained Burness.

“What shocks me every year is every penny donated goes to the food bank because everything is donated,” she said. “I did not spend one dollar.”

Once again, this year’s event was a sellout.

“The biggest comment I heard from people buying their tickets and afterwards was ‘I really feel like it’s Christmas now’ and ‘this is part of my Christmas,’” said Burness.

Burness is happy with how this year’s event went, and she’s already looking forward to next year.

“Big thank yous to all the volunteers; there were a lot of volunteers who did a lot of work,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the comments, and next year, we will have to up the ante and see if we can push it past the $5,000 mark.”