École Davis Road raises money for its music program through unique Christmas Café

École Davis Road Elementary in Ladysmith tried something new for Christmas this year to address space issues in the school.

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École Davis Road Elementary did something a little different for Christmas concert this year.

Instead of one big concert, the school held a Christmas Café on Dec. 12, offering a goodie station in the gym, where families were invited to purchase baked treats and beverages while the school choir performed, and having each class go from room to room, performing for their friends and family members.

The Christmas Café also served as a fundraiser for the school’s music program.

Staff at  École Davis Road (EDR) came up with the Christmas Café idea to address the space issues in their school. The school gym is only half-size, and the school population is almost double its capacity, so there is no way to hold a concert with all the families in one place at EDR, according the school.

In the past, EDR has arranged to use the multipurpose room at Ladysmith Secondary School for its concerts, but that creates its own challenges for transportation and rehearsals and scheduling.

The new format also alleviates the challenge of keeping students entertained while they wait their turn to perform.

Traditionally, students spend most of their Christmas concert evening in a classroom waiting and spend only a few minutes on stage, but this year, each of EDR’s 10 divisions prepared performances to share with their families and friends, and each class performed its piece eight times for eight different audiences, one in each Classroom Café.

Parents and grandparents donated more than 1,000 pieces of baking to the Christmas Café, and about 50 people volunteered to bake and to help out during the event.

All proceeds from the Christmas Café are going to support the school’s music program.

Music teacher Jane Saunders says the plastic recorders the children are currently using have been in the school for decades and are literally crumbling because of their age, and they have many cracks and broken bits on them. The music stands the children use are hand-me-downs from local high schools.

The PAC has already raised $400 for the music program through selling products from Hazelwood Herb Farm.

The PAC’s goal was to raise $2,100 during the Christmas Café for the purchase of alto and tenor recorders, music stands, hand drums, dollies for carrying music stands, and music CDs.

The event raised approximately $2,000 for École Davis Road’s music program.

PAC president Karen Fediuk considers the Christmas Café a big success.

“It was fabulous,” she said. “It was so amazing, and I think a lot of the parents really enjoyed the format because they could see the kids up close. It was an intimate setting.”

Fediuk expects the school will continue with this format in the coming years because it was so well received, and, as the only school in Ladysmith without a full-size gym, they cannot accommodate everyone in one room.

“It was such a fabulous night,” she said. “We had so much fun, and the parents were so thrilled.”

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