ALTON — On May 15, the area will be treated to an evening of music and refreshments and have a chance to donate to an important cause, as well.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, at the Alton High School Commons, a concert performed by the Fifth Grade Honors Orchestra, the Schumann Chamber Ensemble, the Middle School Honors Choir and string ensemble Jazzios will help raise awareness for needy children in the district.
“We like to do different styles,” Julie Carter, director for Jazzios, said. “You will hear everything from the Beatles to U2 to Guns N’Roses. I think we even have a Michael Buble song in there somewhere.”
The concert (an annual event so named because it offers free coffee and desserts) is an opportunity for students, their families and the community as a whole to give to the McKinney-Vento Fund, providing support to students in the Alton School District who are defined as homeless by the McKinney-Vento Act.
This includes children who are living in an emergency shelter, domestic violence center, transitional housing, motel, hotel, trailer park or campground, car, park or any other public place or abandoned building not meant for housing.
It also can include children who are “doubled up” with relatives or friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason.
“We attended a Madison County teachers’ meeting and during one of the sessions, they talked about how kids could get supplies through this fund,” Carter said. “I contacted our representative here and asked how we could get this started.”
The concert has raised donations for the fund for the last three years. Sally Pierce is director of the Fifth Grade Honors Orchestra and Schumann Chamber Ensemble, and Lori McCaskey is director of the Middle School Honors Choir. The three directors work together for months to put the concert together.
The annual event originally began more than 10 years ago as the Showcase concert before transitioning to the Coffee Concert series approximately five years ago.
“The Coffee Concert is a more casual setting; it is more relaxed,” Carter said.
A donations center is set up in the superintendent’s office in the administration building, 1854 East Broadway, Alton. Carter emphasizes the donations stay within the Alton School District.
Guests are welcome and encouraged to bring donations to the concert including toiletry items, school supplies, backpacks and laundry supplies. A cash box also will be set up to accept cash donations.
Organizers ask that no food items be donated at the event.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Friday in the Alton High School Commons (“This is always very well-attended, so getting there early is recommended,” Carter says). For more information, call (618) 474-2086.