This month Angela Sommer continues her work of empowering the women and youth of the lakecity community through song.
Sommer has been the owner and operator of Angelkeys Music Studio for over 20 years, fostering a love of music in the community. Through partnerships with organizations like the Women’s Contact Society, the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society (CCACS) and recently the Williams Lake Junior Cadets, Sommer has done her best to make music lessons and engagement affordable for the community.
“I’ve had lots of wonderful clients over the years and it’s been a very positive experience for me, I’ve never wanted for business there are lots of people who want music lessons,” Sommer said.
This Friday on March 8 at 6:30 p.m. Sommer with the Junior Cadet Society of B.C. will be putting on Music Night, a student concert/fundraiser held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church. The church is located at 549 Carson Drive, the “little church at the bottom of the hill” Sommer clarified.
All of the participants in this concert will be students of Sommer’s and all will be participating in the Cariboo Festival in April. Many have also gone on to perform in various provincial competitions in their respective fields of study, she added.
“When I talk to kids, they always want to sing, they want to do something with music and arts. There is very little available for them because it’s costly,” Sommer said. “It’s always the vulnerable kids that get cut out from events. Sports have lots of sponsors for this and that and everything but (I find) with music there isn’t very much.”
The purpose of the event is to raise money to secure grants, Sommer said, for students and potential students who might not otherwise be able to afford her lessons without the grants. Sommer chose to work with Crystal Sheridan, the leader and founder of the Williams Lake Junior Cadets, to be able to secure the grant money from the province. As Angelkeys Music Studio is a business, Sommer needs a partnership with a non-profit to receive the funds, via a contract, required to allow her to offer lessons and sessions for free.
The Just For Fun women’s choir is an example of one of Sommer’s non-profit partnerships in practice. For the last five years, the Women’s Contact Society has paid her an honorarium to run the popular choir.
“Any lady that wants to come and sing, regardless of age, where they come from, who they are, whether they can sing or not can attend (the choir) and it’s free too (all of) them,” Sommer said. “We all sing together and we have a connection through the music that we sing. The music is the tool that we use to empower our students or our singers and pianists.”
She hopes to be able to secure just enough grant money that she will be able to run her choir sessions for free. In the past, when grants have been provided by the CCACS she’s seen programs grow exponentially, like this year when her Winter Teen Choir grew from around 10 kids to 30 after a grant from the society.
“So the interest is there but I don’t think the money is always there and that’s what we’re trying to fill in with (this) concert and through our grant applications,” Sommer said.
Using the Just For Fun women’s choir as a template, Sommer hopes to be able to offer this free choral group to lakecity children and youth starting this coming September to run until May of 2020.
“I find, in music, a lot of people are female that are taking lessons and training. The pendulum always swings in that direction. What I’ve really enjoyed, as a music teacher, is the chance to work with every gender that comes through my door,” Sommer said. “When it comes to young people, in particular, I really like seeing them grow up and learn skills that will help them for life.”
Admission is free for the concert, though Sommer said a donation box will be on hand in the back of the church that she encourages attendees to donate to. Those interested in donating to this cause but are unable to attend the concert can reach out to herself or Sheridan, Sommer said.
Sommer hopes to raise about $4,000 for this initiative which she said would pay for lessons, choral groups and festival submissions for various students.
“Come out and see what awesome talent we have in this town in our young performers. (Attendees) will hear a variety of different styles of music from pop to musical theatre, there will even be an opera song in there. On piano, kids will play Beethoven but also some modern pieces, so there’s a wide variety of music people can listen to,” Sommer said.