The lights are bright, the tables are pushed aside and the smell of lunch lingers in the air of the Notre Dame Catholic High School (NDCHS) cafeteria.
About 35 students sit in chairs with music books on stands in front of them. They hold their instruments at the ready.
Tony Stuart, music teacher and band conductor at NDCHS, stands at the front of the cafeteria. He raises his arms and a gloriously loud song fills the room. Band rehearsal begins.
This year marks the tenth year that NDCHS band, The RetroActives, is raising money for the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital. The name of the fundraiser is Music for Miracles.
“The community can expect a great show — a fantastic dinner by Leatherworks Catering and a real sense of giving back to the community,” says Stuart. “I can’t wait.” He has been teaching music at NDCHS since before Music for Miracles started.
It’s an annual dinner and band performance event that has raised about $31,500 in the last nine years, Stuart says. “I’m hoping we can raise between $3,000 and $4,000 [this year],” he says.
This year’s Music for Miracles fundraiser will be held on Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Carleton Place Town Hall auditorium. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., dinner at 7p.m.
While all funds from Music for Miracles go exclusively to the hospital, the fundraiser does not just benefit the hospital.
“Students learn the value of hard work and they feel a sense of pride about what they accomplished,” Stuart says. “Audience members get to take in a fantastic show and feel like they have contributed to something special.”
Stuarts says he think it is important for students to be involved in fundraisers like Music for Miracles because it shows them how to use music to make positive changes in the community. “By using our skills and talents to benefit the local hospital, we help make our community a better place,” he says.
A member of many bands himself and an experienced conductor, Stuart says his favourite part of teaching music at NDCHS is creating a sense of teamwork and accomplish for students.
“I love when they know they went out on stage and put on a great performance,” Stuart says. “I think it’s important for students to see that music has the power to bring about change to make our world a better place.”
Along with Music for Miracles, other NDCHS bands have plenty of events coming up this spring.
The annual NDCHS band spring concert is coming up on May 9 at 7 p.m. at Notre Dame Catholic High School. So far, the concert line up includes a performance by the Symphonic Band, a choir and a guest musician will be playing the bagpipes.
Stuart says the music department is also planning a children’s matinee this spring of Peter and the Wolf. Carleton Place Mayor Louis Antonakos has agreed to narrate the show. No date has been set yet.
With so many great events coming up, it’s hard to pick a favourite.
“I think I am most excited for our spring concert, although I am also really looking forward to our trip to Boston — and of course I really look forward to Music for Miracles,” Stuart says.