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Empty Stocking Fund Concert Set for Dec. 10

Performance Music at The University of Scranton will present The Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert, Sunday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center. Admission is one new toy or piece of children’s clothing, or a cash donation.
December 1, 2017

A yuletide tradition for many local families, Performance Music at The University of Scranton’s annual Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 10.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue, downtown Scranton, the concert will feature the Scranton Brass Orchestra, with special guests the Scranton Preparatory School Cavalyrics under the direction of Daniel Marx.

The event is open to the public, and attendees are asked to bring along a new toy, an article of children’s clothing, or a monetary donation.  From there, the gifts will be distributed to low-income local children by United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

As always, the concert will include a variety of holiday favorites performed by Scranton Brass and the Cavalyrics. At the end of the evening, the two groups will join together with the audience for a lively Christmas caroling session.

According to Performance Music Conductor and Director Cheryl Y. Boga, the concert is a bit of a departure from Performance Music’s annual Noel Night concert, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“Noel Night is more serious, more sacred. This is more lighthearted,” Boga said. “You can bring the kids. We do the caroling, we do ‘Frosty the Snowman.’ It’s a lot of fun.”

The concert started back in 1999, after Boga got the idea from Alan Drake, the former chairman of the music department at Georgia’s Augusta State University.

“He told me about this concert where they raised money, clothes and toys for kids in need. And that it all stayed right in Augusta. And how the kids loved it,” Boga recalled. “I said, ‘I would love to do that. Would you feel like I was stealing your idea?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not.’”

For that first year, she and Drake decided to wage a friendly competition and see which concert could raise the most money. Performance Music prevailed – and a new concert tradition was born.

No doubt, the concert’s charitable mission lends it a special resonance. Through the years, there have been some especially generous donations – like the woman who showed up with several dozen girls’ dresses.

“There were easily 50 of them. Beautiful dresses -- tags still on them,” Boga said.

Boga said she loves to see the donated items put on display the night of the concert. “It’s so moving,” she said.

The same could be said of the warm and wonderful vibes produced at the concert.

“You can really see people starting to feel the Christmas spirit. You just see them relax as they’re singing the Christmas carols,” she said. “It’s kind of a cool thing.”

For more information on the Empty Stocking Fund Benefit Concert, call 570-941-7624, email music@scranton.edu or visit scranton.edu/music.

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