By Cameron Rasmusson
It’s easy to see the sense in supporting local music for its own sake, but the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint still aims to sweeten the deal.
This year’s Fall Serenade brings together the best in the world of music and local desserts for an unbeatable combination. Audience members will enjoy the work of classical music’s great masters before bidding on sweets prepared by Sandpoint’s own artisanal community.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our dessert auction this year,” said MCS board member Amelia Hess. “Out of all the [businesses] we asked, we didn’t receive a single no.”
The evening will also feature a buffet dinner. To aid the digestion, MCS students will serenade attendees as they eat.
“We have a saying in Germany: ‘Love goes through the stomach,’” said MCS director Karin Wedemeyer. “So we also have a wonderful meal as well [for this event.]”
The Fall Serenade is one of the primary events supporting the conservatory’s scholarship program. For students without the means to afford classes, the fund is essential to pay for instruction and access to instruments. Between 30 and 40 students benefit each year from the program.
“It’s removing all financial barriers, so everyone can participate who wants to,” Wedemeyer said.
Of course, the Fall Serenade is also a celebration of student achievement throughout the year. The primary event features music performed by MCS instructors, while the students get to show off their stuff during the dinner.
“Part of the idea of this fundraiser was to build the community of the school,” said Wedemeyer. “It allows us to highlight and celebrate our teachers.”
The ultimate goal is to support the students, who have been thriving according to Wedemeyer and Hess. At the moment, there are 38 students in the choir program and 25 in the orchestra, with more students in the advanced ensemble. That represents a 20-percent increase in enrollment this year.
“All of these things feels like a flower that is just beginning to blossom,” Wedemeyer said. “I feel the programs are really blossoming.”
Wedemeyer and Hess believe the students are blossoming, too. Hess said MCS programs represent an essential extracurricular activity for students without interest in athletics or other traditional school programs. Music education gives them the discipline they need to grow their mind and their cultural awareness.
“It gives kids an extracurricular activity that is really important for building brain development,” Hess said.
The Fall Serenade takes place 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Lutheran Church, 526 Olive St. The suggested minimum donation for the event is $10. For more information, call 265-4444 or visit www.sandpointconservatory.org.
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