Edmonton’s 2016 Harvest Brunch & Auction had it all: the concert debut of a pianist with only a few weeks of lessons, a choir performance, a painting produced in real time, as well as the unique and distinctly unusual items for auction.
It was all to support a new program for The Salvation Army’s Castledowns Corps, a Community Music Program. When the results were tallied, there was $75,000 raised to buy equipment, instruments, music, and other materials needed by the students and instructors who will be involved in this new program.
The Harvest Brunch started first thing in the morning of October 15 with a chance for attendees to look over the items for silent and live auction. The Salvation Army staff member who was snapping the photos reports that every year there is a “one of a kind” item. Last year it was surfboards. This year, at the very last minute, a landscaping tool arrived. “People walked by, and said it looks like a wood chipper, and we told them that’s because it IS a wood chipper.”
Despite the struggling economy, Edmonton businesses rose to the occasion and donated a total of 255 items. The 280 ticket holders chose from yard and garden implements, children’s toys, sports gear, tickets and gift certificates. They took in an art performance, and were led through the event by TV and radio personalities Rob Christie and Seanna Collins, from Capital FM and Global Edmonton, who expertly handled the auctioneering and hosting duties.
Then it was time for the entertainment. A gentleman who recently started to take piano lessons played a rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy followed by the new Community Music Choir singing two songs, Lean on Me and Shut De Do, for the audience.
“This is a brand new program, and we wanted an opportunity to show what is possible,” says Major Carolyn Hale, Castledowns Ministry Unit Leader. “Music builds and promotes a positive community spirit. It’s a great way to meet new friends, reduce stress, and have fun. We already have 21 people who have joined the choir and practice weekly.” She invites Edmontonians of all ages to sing, take music lessons, or to share their talents by teaching or playing.
The Salvation Army would like to thank the Harvest Brunch Committee, its volunteers, donors, ticket buyers, and staff for making beautiful music together at the 2016 Salvation Army Harvest Brunch.