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Owens band to trumpet in holidays for homeless

Free performance to seek donations


The Owens College Community Concert Band rehearses. The band will help ring in the holidays next month with a performance to raise money for St. Paul’s Community Center.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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The Owens Community College Concert Band will help ring in the holidays next month with a performance to raise money for St. Paul’s Community Center.

The free concert will be at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Owens’ Toledo-area campus, 30335 Oregon Rd., Perrysburg Township. The theater is handicapped-accessible and has free parking nearby.

Fred Dais, the concert band’s director, said admission is free and open to all, but “we’ll pass the hat around” for the Toledo homeless shelter. “We’re hoping everyone will have the Christmas spirit and want to help take care of those not as fortunate as we are.”

The concert band held a similar benefit performance for Cherry Street Mission Ministries in March that raised $2,000. “We hope to collect at least that much or more this time,” Mr. Dais said.

Marcia Langenderfer, the executive director of St. Paul’s, said she will tell the concert audience how much their generosity means to the near-downtown shelter.

“The money they give will be used for the food program that operates 365 days a year,” she said. “Our community lunch program offers a noon meal for the homeless and mentally ill, and anyone is welcome. We have a nutritious meal with a hot entree, a salad, and dessert. It may be the only meal these folks get for the day.”

Ms. Langenderfer said each lunch costs St. Paul’s $1.79, so a donation of a few thousand dollars from the concert “makes a huge difference.” In 2012, St. Paul’s served 110,000 lunches and is on track to serve as many or more this year.

“We serve about 120 lunches per day, but the number can be higher during the holidays. It’s always busy at the end of the month because that’s when people run out of money,” she said.

The concert itself will offer a variety of holiday numbers, including “Sleigh Ride,” “Hanukkah, Festival of Lights,” “The Toy Trumpet,” and tunes from the movie The Polar Express.

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” will be narrated by “Ragtime Rick” Grafing, the well-known local jazz artist who sports a beard not unlike Santa’s, Mr. Dais said.

“We thought he’d be great to do that. Then he’ll move on to a honky-tonk piano, and he’ll play some ragtime piano numbers as well,” the band director said. “We’ll also be playing a lot of other music too.”

The concert is to open with a march, he said, and conclude with a medley from the 1964 movie Mary Poppins. “People sort of consider that to be Christmas music,” Mr. Dais said.

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