Tara Sprickerhoff photo Members of the Cariboo Gold Dance Band at a swing concert this winter. The group will be heralding in the summer as part of the Pops in the Park concert on Friday, June 15, helping to fundraise for local arts and music programs.

Pops in the Park fundraises for Cariboo music programs

Event aims to raise money to support music lessons and programs in lakecity

Get ready to jump-start the summer with the second annual Pops in the Park in Boitanio Park, Friday, June 15. With performances by the LCSS Tour Band, the Quintet Plus Choir, Synergy, Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers and the Cariboo Gold Dance Band, kick up your heels and enjoy live local talent. Special guest artists will include the newly formed group Ebony and three of this year’s Cariboo Festival winners.

This amazing event will all start at 5 p.m. with the Rotary Club of Williams Lake serving up juicy burgers on the barbecue and local Cariboo Arts Council artists presenting Children’s Art in the Park. The live music will start at 5:30 p.m. on the Gwen Ringwood Stage featuring the Lake City Secondary School Tour Band which recently participated in a huge music fest in Whistler, B.C.

Following the tour band, the accapella group Synergy will entertain with a selection of folk and jazz standards. Next up on stage will be the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers who recently performed for a very successful Mother’s Day Barn Dance at the Sacred Heart Hall, that featured the well-known guest musician Gordon Stobbe.

At 7 p.m. the Cariboo Festival Encore performers will take the stage with the debut performance of the string quintet, Ebony. Alongside the fiddlers will be three solo acts featuring winners of the 2018 Cariboo Festival of the Arts. Sharing their vocal talents in this set will be Kezia Froese and Eloise Hobi. Lauryn Marklinger will be showcasing her musical skills on piano.

The 15 piece Cariboo Gold Dance Band will close out the event with a set of swing and jazz standards showcasing the big band sound. From Count Basie to Michael Buble, Antonio Jobim to Luis Fonsi and Neal Hefti to Huey Lewis, the CGDB plays swing, jazz, waltzes and even polkas. This all amateur group loves to provide live music and entertainment for all kinds of events.

The second annual Pops in the Park is a family friendly event that is sponsored by the Rotary Club, the Community Arts Council, the Goat Radio, the Stew Magazine and the Tribune. Several corporate sponsors for the evening have also contributed generously to this important fundraising event. Last year’s combined corporate/community fundraising efforts resulted in a total of almost $5,400 which was invested in the youth of our community. Funds were used to support 12 students with private music lessons during the year as well as fund a group guitar project at the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake. The remaining funds will be spent in support of a drumming program to be held also at the Boys and Girls Club this summer.

“We have so many talented kids in our community,” says Sharon Hoffman, one of the event organizers. “But some of them just need a little financial support to help get them to that next level.”

Pops in the Park funds provide local children with individual music lessons, instrument rental and group instruction.

“It is a fantastic investment in the kids of our community”, says Hoffman.

“There was no specific goal last year for the first Pops but we hoped we would raise enough money to help out some of the kids that needed financial support. By the end of the night, we had far exceeded our expectations and in the end were able to help out more than twenty young musicians.”

This year, she said, sponsors have already donated more than last year.

“If we can meet or exceed last year’s total with audience donations, then we will consider the event another success for our community.”

The entire evening is free for everyone but the audience will be asked to assist with their support of the various music programs in the Williams Lake community. During the event, the audience will be encouraged to donate to the Cariboo Youth Festival Fund – so bring along some loonies and toonies – and cash donations big or small, are always appreciated.

“We hope to match last year’s total of $5400,” says William Wallace, event organizer. “The kids really make the most out of our financial support and it is truly an investment in their future”.

So dust off your lawn chairs, bring your family and friends. Have a deluxe burger from the Rotary barbecue and join us for a couple of hours of musical entertainment. Mark it on your calendar, Friday June 15 for the Second Annual Pops in the Park at the Gwen Ringwood Stage in Botanio Park. Local live music at its finest.

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