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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Musicians bring Christmas spirit to those waiting at the Christmas Bureau

Gonzaga Prep choir performs at the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Prep choir performs at the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Christmas Bureau is closed now, but every day that it was open singers and performers filled the building at the Spokane County Fairgrounds with the sound of music.

Several choirs, including Gonzaga Prep’s, come back year after year to sing.

Even though the hundreds of people waiting in line don’t applaud after every song, they appreciate the music, entertainment coordinator Christy Folkins said. Some even sing along or dance.

“Music is such a common ground for all of us,” she said.

Young children are among the biggest fans of the live music, she said.

“They couldn’t believe the hula girls,” she said. “They’re fascinated by live entertainment. The adults enjoyed it just as much as the kids, really.”

There is someone performing during all the hours the bureau is open, though it can range from between three to six acts a day.

“Some are half an hour, some are an hour,” Folkins said. “We have some people perform for two hours.”

Many of the groups are regulars.

“We had the Rockin’ B Ranch again,” she said. “They come every year and they generally bring local fiddlers.”

There were also several new groups signed up this year as well, including a group called the Angela Marie Project.

“It was their first experience here and they can’t wait to come back,” Folkins said.

Hoffman’s Music Co. donated all the sound equipment, a PA system and a full-size keyboard for the performances, Folkins said.

“I can’t say enough great things about them,” she said.


Christmas is nearly here and donations are still coming in slowly, much too slowly. New contributions of $35,125 have pushed the year-to-date total to $383,328.12, still a long way from the goal of $525,000.

Cochrane & Company donated $10,000. “Cochrane & Company is excited to once again contribute to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund,” wrote Linda Dykes. “This is one of our favorite charities to donate to because we know this will help families in our community that are in need. All of us at Cochrane & Company extend our thanks for the many volunteer that make this happen.”

Thomas Kasson, of Spokane, donated $2,500. DuPree Building Specialties gave $2,000.

Patricia and Larry Bishop, of Coeur d’Alene, donated $1,000. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $1,000 “in memory of my grandmother, whose generosity helped many families during the Depression.” The Providence Health Care Foundation Board of Directors gave $1,000.

John and Lori Maloney, of Spokane, sent $1,000. “Thanks for doing so much to assist so many at this time of year!” they wrote. Wagstaff Inc. in Spokane Valley contributed $1,000.

University High School gave $838 in donations. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $600, writing, “I am so abundantly blessed and I am grateful I have the ability to share my abundance with others. God bless.”

An anonymous Millwood donor sent $500, writing, “Thanks for all you do!” An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $500. Linda Ashlock, of Liberty Lake, donated $500. Dionisio and Patricia Morales, of Medical Lake, contributed $500, as did Kevin and Judy Heid, of Spokane. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500.

Yokes #19 donated $500. “Enclosed is a donation from the Latah Creek Yoke’s Fresh Market and its employees to show appreciation for all you do for our community!” they wrote. “Wishing you all a very happy holiday!”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500 “with the hope that it will help brighten the holiday season and provide some joy in the lives of those in need during this special time of year. We thank The Spokesman-Review for providing this fine service to our community.” Reamer Family Dentistry of Spokane Valley donated $500 in memory of Francis and Ann Reamer.

Lisa Whitley, of Mead, donated $350 via PayPal. Sharon Fairchild, of Liberty Lake, contributed $300. Joel and Vickie DeVries, of Spokane, sent $300. “Thanks for all you do to lift the spirits of those in need!” they wrote.

Mathew and Shirley Alling, of Spokane, donated $250 via PayPal in memory of Milbert and Frances Joachim and George Alling. “Shirley and I hope that this donation helps a child or two enjoy a Merry Christmas,” he wrote. “No child deserves to go without Christmas. Blessings to all that help make this great fund happen.”

Dennis Dowling, of Rosalia, donated $250 in memory of his mother Marie and brother David. Alvin Schmidt, of Spokane, gave $250, as did Pat and Pete Warnick, of Spokane. Marion and Michael Fietek, of Cheney, contributed $250 in memory of their son, Eric Fietek, who died 14 months ago from cancer.

Paul and Leslie Turner, of Spokane, donated $250. “Happy holidays and a happy and healthy new year for everyone!” they wrote. Mark and Kathy Casey, of Spokane, sent $250. Robert and Rae Lynn Westby, of Spokane, gave $250 via PayPal. “Thanks for all you do to brighten the holidays!” they wrote.

Donald and Mariann Heinemann, of Spokane Valley, donated $200. Jon and Jan Kaley, of Spokane, contributed $200. “There are so many needs for the people of Spokane,” they wrote. “We just wanted to help pass Christmas blessings on to those people as well as anyone who needs blessings. We so appreciate the Christmas fund which enables many to benefit from the community.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200, writing “Some of us via accident of birth or fate have been so fortunate. It’s always an obligation to recognize not everyone has the same opportunities.” Gary and Leanne Brosius, of Veradale, contributed $200. “Keep up the great work you do for all,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas.” An anonymous donor gave $200.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $200, writing “A big ‘Thank you’ to all the people who contribute to the Christmas Bureau and the volunteers at the bureau to make this a magical time for the less fortunate.” Stephen Johnson, of Spokane, gave $200 via PayPal.

Ten-year-old Emmeline Hirt, of Spokane, donated $200. “For the last two years, Emmeline Hirt has saved up 10 weeks allowance in order to donate $50 to the Christmas Bureau,” wrote her mother, Tracey Hirt. “This year, she received a raise in her allowance for extra chores. She also sold her slide over the summer and wanted to save the entire amount to donate to the Christmas Bureau.”

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $150. Carol Christianson, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of the “best mom,” Marcia Sather. Larry and Tudy Hatch, of Spokane, donated $150.

Joe and Becky Kramarz, of Spokane, gave $125. “I have been Santa to a couple of kids ministries,” he wrote. “I know how important this fund is to children. Bless you.” Charles Horgan and Andrea Sharps, of Spokane, donated $125.

Tom and Ruth Conklin and family donated $100. “Thank you for all you do at this time of the year,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas.” Bob Jorgensen, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, as did Lloyd Emter, of Veradale. Bruce and Pamela Brown, of Cheney, contributed $100, writing “Thank you volunteers for helping with (the) Christmas Fund.”

Steve and Cyndy Alexander, of Otis Orchards, donated $100. Jenny Edgren, of Spokane, sent $100. Nancy Moore, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. Pat and Jim Lynass, of Spokane, contributed $100. “Many thanks for your part in making Christmas merrier for many in our area,” they wrote. The “Numerous Neumanns” gave $100.

The following Spokane donors each gave $100: Kenneth and Helen Evans, Ronald White, Thomas and Elaine Pitzer, Lynn Wagner and Andrew Caster. Donald Roise and an anonymous donor each sent $100 via PayPal.

Wilma Mahoney, of Spokane, donated $100 “in loving memory of three good friends – Tom Mahoney, Ken Trent and Jack Bradley.” Lee and Julie Fish, of Spokane, sent $100. “We continue to appreciate your efforts!” they wrote. “Thank you all so much.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100 in memory of Monsignor Frank Bach. Terry Nakano, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of her husband, Kim K. Nakano. Tom and Betsy Swanson, of Spokane, contributed $100. “Merry Christmas to all,” they wrote.

Soroptimist International of Spokane gave $100. “Soroptimist International of Spokane is 92 years young,” wrote treasurer Dorothy Haskell. “It is the oldest service group of its kind in Spokane. SIS has contributed to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund for over a decade.”

An anonymous Airway Heights donor sent $100, writing, “Thank you for making the Christmas Bureau a bright spot in the lives of so many people!” An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $100. Thomas and Michelle Solberg, of Spokane, contributed $100 in memory of their parents.

Mercedes and Cynthia Tate, of Spokane, donated $100. “Thank you so much for your generosity in providing this venue to give for the Spokane community!” they wrote. The Vandervert family, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Don. “Thank you for all you do for so many,” they wrote. “God bless.” An anonymous donor from Harrington, Washington, gave $100.

Mike and Vic Roberts gave $70, writing, “Merry Xmas Bonnie Roberts.” An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $60. Jarrett Lange, of Spokane, donated $60. Michael Hughes, of Spokane Valley, sent $52.

Frank Bennett, of Spokane, donated $50 in memory of his parents and sister. Clyde and Zita Smith, of Spokane Valley, contributed $50. Tom and Karen Towey, of Spokane Valley, donated $50 in honor of their three granddaughters, Bailey, Allison and Avery. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $50.

The following Spokane donors each gave $50: Katherine Wooley, Mike and Patty McCarty, Alex Rizzuto, Frederick and Kristen Jessett and Bernadette Brown.

Glen and Kim Taylor, of Spokane Valley, sent $50. “Thank you for making Christmas better for so many people!” they wrote. Cleve and Brit Penberthy, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of Jim and Mag Eidsmo and Phil and Adeline Penberthy. Elizabeth Russell, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of her parents, Chuck and Joy White. “Thanks for all you do for others!” she wrote. “Merry Christmas!”

Warren Flath, of Spokane Valley, contributed $50. Max, Karen and David Montecucco, of Cheney, sent $50. Frank Mortimer, of Spokane Valley, gave $50. Neal Cochran contributed $50 via PayPal. Bill and Sandra Dodge, of Spokane, donated $50. “Thank you for, year after year, making the effort and committing the resources to sponsor the Christmas Fund for families in our community,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas!”

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $50, writing, “Thank you volunteers for all you do! This donation is in memory of our friend, Gary Bartoo.” Catherine Dieter and Babes In Baubles, both of Spokane, each gave $50 via PayPal.

Ilene Treewater and Matthew Arnold, of Spokane, donated $40. William and Trudy Olson, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Christine Lengele, of Spokane. Beverly Petrovich, of Spokane, sent $25. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $25.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $25, writing, “New Spokane residents – it’s a privilege to share in this local need.” Christine Bieker, of Spokane, sent $25 on behalf of Leslie Rahn. Stephen Tilque, of Cheney, gave $25 via PayPal.

Ann and Norman English, of Spokane, gave $20. “We appreciate what you are doing for the community.” Roger and Pat French, of Spokane Valley, sent $20. John Allen, of Spokane, contributed $20. Marlene Schuster, of Spokane, donated $20. “Thank you for the great stories and endless compassion,” she wrote.

For donations made through PayPal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.

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