MAKING A DIFFERENCE - A special fundraising concert in support of a project spearheaded by A Better World is set to take place in Red Deer April 7th featuring the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra and the Lacombe-based Rosedale Valley String Orchestra. Michael Martin photo

A special fundraising concert in support of A Better World runs April 7th

Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra is teaming up with the Lacombe-based Rosedale Valley Strings

A special fundraising concert in support of a project spearheaded by the Lacombe-based A Better World is set to take place in Red Deer April 7th.

The Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra is teaming up with Lacombe’s Rosedale Valley String Orchestra for the performance at the First Nazarene church. The concert, which features something for all ages and is great entertainment for families, begins at 7 p.m. and there will be a free-will offering.

There will also be the opportunity to bid on silent auction items donated by local businesses and artisans.

“This will be our eighth year,” said Heather Ensley, director of the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra. The two groups join forces annually for a show that benefits humanitarian aid projects run by A Better World.

This year’s concert will raise money for a science lab addition to a school currently being built in Afghanistan by A Better World. “We always work with A Better World, and typically a concert can bring in around $10,000,” explained Ensley. “Last year, we raised about $12,000 to benefit a refugee health clinic in Calgary.”

As mentioned, this year’s proceeds will greatly benefit the school in Afghanistan. Ensley said the groups usually choose a project where the money they raise can go a really long ways to virtually completing it.

“This year we are actually returning to a project that we have raised money for previously – and this will be our last time working with this project because it’s almost completed,” she said. “The project was founded by (Burman University alumnus) Azalea Lehndorff.”

Past concerts have raised funds for some of the schools Lehndorff has helped establish as well.

Meanwhile, the young musicians are also of course excited about the concert and the ultimate impact it can have.

Ensley said that how much was raised at each concert is announced at the end of the evening, so that makes it all the more exciting for orchestra members and the audience, too.

“We’ve really made an effort the last couple of years to count the funds as they were coming in during the concert, so at the end we are able to announce just how much was raised – it’s really empowering for the kids to hear this as soon as they are finished playing,” she said.

The Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra consists of about 20 of Red Deer’s most dedicated string students and amateur musicians, eager to make a difference via music.

When combined with the Rosedale Valley Strings Orchestra, audiences can expect to be treated to 40 or more string players on one stage, noted Ensley.

Also joining in as guests this year in the final number of the night will be the Ilhana Youth Choir, directed by Lisa Ward.

“Our final number will be with the two string orchestras and the choir, and will be conducted by Lisa,” she added. “That’s another draw for the audience, and another great experience for the orchestras.”

Favourite works by Ginastera, Beethoven, and Warlock will be presented during the course of the evening along with original and contemporary compositions, sure to delight a range of musical tastes, said Ensley.

“It will be a combination of the (classic) stand-bys – the pillars of classical music plus some newer, original combinations as well.”

For Ensley, directing the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra is an absolute delight.

“The best part is seeing my vision for the group come alive, and by that I mean seeing the group realize their full potential,” she said.

Audiences can keep track of various Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra events and receive updates about the upcoming concert at www.facebook.com/rdyco/.

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