Eagle concert to benefit holiday toy drive | VailDaily.com

Eagle concert to benefit holiday toy drive

Connie Steiert
Vail CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/kanderson@vaildaily.com

Come enjoy an afternoon of holiday music featuring a trio of favorite local performers that have delighted audiences for years.

For the first time ever, the Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale will join forces with the Dickens Carolers and Mountain Harmony in concert in Eagle this Sunday.

All of these vocal groups have remained perennial favorites in Eagle County for years (the Dickens Carolers have performed for 28 years), yet all three have never performed together. The idea was born several weeks ago out of a conservsation between Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale Director Kim Denning and Dickens Carolers founder Jon Gamble.

Denning had been searching for a way to make the concert experience more meaningful for the children in her choral group. She found a close-to-home charitable cause: the Eagle Fire Department’s annual toy drive.

“I asked the kids what they thought about doing a concert to raise funds for kids not as fortunate as they were,” she recalls. “They thought it was a great idea. They were very excited.”

Denning contacted Greater Eagle Fire District Chief Jon Asper, who was equally enthusiastic about the idea.

The children of the Chorale are also excited to be singing with the adults, says Denning.

The final piece of the holiday concert fell into place when Gamble mentioned the Dickens Carolers were doing a December concert at the United Methodist Church in Eagle. It seemed a perfect opportunity. Mountain Harmony, the women’s acapella goup, was invited to join them.

Concert-goers are asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy for the toy drive.

The toy drive, started by the Greater Eagle Fire Department started the annual toy drive to help struggling families about a dozen years ago, is now a multi-entity effort. Today, it is overseen by the Masonic Lodge in Eagle, which also operates a toy store on certain evenings in its basement around Christmas. Children can come choose a toy they might not otherwise receive from Santa.

“We’re just trying to help out and make a differences,” says Asper. “There are so many people involved in this; it’s not just one entity or one individual.”

The Salvation Army, the county, the town of Gypsum, and local businesses also partner on the toy drive. Their mission is to bring toys to children in Eagle, Gypsum, Dotsero, Bond and McCoy whose families are on a tight budget with little room for presents.

“We try to keep it local,” says Asper. And, he adds, “we try to buy local” to obtain toys.

“That toy drive is strictly for local families; everything stays here in the valley,” adds Denning.

She has been busy teaching the two adult choirs some of the children’s songs for the combined performance. They will jointly sing five songs.

In addition, each choral group will perform 5-6 songs on their own, both familiar and new. Many of the songs will be familiar to the audience, while others may be new. For instance, many people may not have heard the Dickens Carolers’ numbers “Christmas Soup” or “Old King Kong.” The Children’s Chorale will also perform “A Big Red Fella in the Chimney” and “Over the River.” Denning is personally hoping Mountain Harmony will perform “Santa Baby.”

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