A music teacher has taken it upon herself to make sure a raffle set up for the concert bands at Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School (MEMSS) to attend a cancelled music festival in Calgary can still be put to good use.
The middle and high school bands were slated to attend the 48th annual MusicFest Canada in Calgary, set to be held May 18-23 before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Courtney Preyser told the Kitimat Northern Sentinel that because the school had already begun a raffle associated with the trip before the school had closed and the festival had been cancelled they were informed by BC Gaming that they had to see the raffle through.
“This one was a tricky one,” she said, adding that had it been a different situation they could have just set out refunds but that, given the situation, she wanted to do all she could to sell the remaining tickets to help fund a future trip.
Preyser said while a number of families have worked hard to sell tickets even in these extreme times that with school closed and social distancing measures in place to the degree they are it has been hard to sell them through traditional means.
In response she decided to put up a post on social media letting people know they could e-transfer her cash (five dollars a ticket) at email@example.com in an effort to spur some online sales in a time where just about everybody was using the computer more.
For a while, the post didn’t receive a whole lot of attention but as it was shared in various local groups Preyser said messages and e-transfer notifications began to trickle into her inbox.
“Originally when I put up the post it sort of languished for a bit,” she said. “But it has picked up a lot and lots of people, I think now that they’re aware it’s out there they [want to help], so that’s been really positive.”
As of May 20, Preyser said a little over 700 of the tickets had been sold out of a total of 1,500. Although in her original post she had said the deadline to buy tickets was May 25 she said she is happy to extend it up to June 8 (legally tickets can’t be sold less than two days before the event) if anyone wants to chip in a few extra dollars to help out the students.
Each ticket is five dollars, with a tour for six of the Douglas Channel from North Pacific Transport up as first prize. Second prize is $250 cash while third prize is a $100 Save-On-Foods gift certificate.
Despite the trip being cancelled and practicing with the band significantly altered, Preyser said her students have been extremely resilient and that she had been able to find silver linings in the pandemic.
She said currently the bands are using a program called SmartMusic which allows her to upload music they have been working on digitally and have students play along remotely from home.
“It records my students as they’re playing along with it and so they send that to me and I get to listen,” she said. “It has actually been really neat for me because I don’t always get to hear them individually.”
The bands were scheduled to head out to Calgary on May 20.
“Now instead we are trying to sell raffle tickets and just get through this all,” said Preyser, expressing gratitude to everyone in the community who has pitched in to donate.
The raffle will be held on June 10. If sending Preyser an e-transfer please include your name and contact info with the e-transfer.
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