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Local performers provide live music for the Christmas Bureau

The Russian Home-schooled Choir sing holiday songs during the Christmas Bureau, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Russian Home-schooled Choir sing holiday songs during the Christmas Bureau, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A gift of live music is one of the perks the Christmas Bureau provides to recipients who come to get a food vouchers, toys and books for their children. A full schedule of singers and musicians took to the stage every day the Bureau was open to perform joyful holiday music.

One of the groups who came to perform was the Russian Home-schooled Choir, led by Nadia Casiadi, who has worked as an interpreter at the Bureau previously.

“Nadia started coming here with her daughter four years ago by herself and now it’s grown to this,” said music organizer Christy Folkins, pointing to the stage with a dozen children on it. “What a great example that music knows no barriers. Music unites everyone, no matter where we’re from, no matter what language we speak.”

It’s not unusual for people waiting in line to dance or sing along with the music, Folkins said. “One of my favorite parts is watching the kids,” she said. “I think it adds a really festive atmosphere to what we’re trying to create, which is a warm, loving environment.”

Folkins said she not only enjoys watching the audience, she enjoys seeing the performers react to the audience. “The interaction between the artist and the audience is priceless to watch,” she said. “Music brings out so much emotion.”

More than 30 performers signed up at the Bureau this year. Soloists included Marilyn Thordarson, Jordon Cole, Andrew Liljenberg, Cheryl Branz, David Wells, Elaine Qualls, Catherine Scherer, Jimi Finn, Mary Beck, Nadia Casiadi and Michael Robinson.

Groups included the One Hope Christian Trio, the Jesse Tinsley Jammers, the Sacred Heart Church pianist and cellist, the Angela Marie vocalist and guitarist duo, Carol Jones & Company and the Rockin’ B’s, the Pacific Islanders Association, Michael Robinson and Jen Edgren, Freddy Joklur and son, and the Trinity School pianists and fiddlers.

Several choirs also performed, including the Sacred Heart Church Choir, the Ferris High School Canterbury Belles, the Sacajawea Middle School choir and strings, the Gonzaga Prep Choir and the Breakout Choir.

Donations

The generosity of readers has brought in $15,225 in new donations to bring the year-to-date total to $368,730. There is still a long way to go to get to the goal of $535,000, and donations of all sizes are important in reaching it. All cash and check donations must be received at The Spokesman-Review by Dec. 30 to count toward this year’s goal. The deadline for donations via PayPal is Thursday to allow time for processing.

John and Kristi Blake of Spokane donated $5,000.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $1,500. Michael and Linda Jensen of Spokane sent $1,000.

Theresa Omans of Spokane donated $500 “in memory of my parents, Marvin and Verna Winton, long-time volunteers with the Bureau in the 1980s and 1990s, when the check-in desk was a couple folding chairs in a cold warehouse, the food vouchers were all handwritten and the blanks went home every night in a cardboard box!”

Wendy Perry of Medical Lake gave $500. “Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us,” she wrote. “May you enjoy his presence and his peace in ever increasing measure. Blessings to you and yours.” Sharon Powell of Spokane donated $500. “Thanks for all you do!” she wrote. “This is in honor of Heidi Jacobs, one of the most giving and caring people I know. She will be so happy to know how much this helps.”

Ruth Cummings of Spokane donated $500. Marie Dawson of Spokane contributed $500. “Christmas blessings to all the volunteers and the families who benefit from their service,” she wrote. Imelda Patterson of Spokane gave $500. Craig and Pauline Soehren of Spokane sent $500.

Bruce and Kathy Bixler of Spokane contributed $300. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor sent $300, writing, “Big thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. I have been giving for over 50 years.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $250 in memory of Chuck, Pauline and Barry. Sandy Fruetel of Mead sent $250 “in memory of my sister and my husband.” Kathleen Lackie of Spokane sent $250 “in loving memory of our Popi – Ando, Suzi and Eva.”

Tom Caldwell of Spokane Valley donated $250 “in loving memory of Iris ‘Sandy’ Rapp, who passed on in March. She spent her life serving others at the Ridpath Hotel. She will be missed.”

Burt and Shirley Pendleton of Spokane sent $250. “It is better to give than receive,” they wrote.

Doris and Lee Pennell of Spokane gave $200. “Thank you for all that you do each year!” they wrote. “The Christmas Fund does so much for so many.” Char Thomas and Doug Lanyon of Spokane sent $200. “Thank you for the opportunity to support such an amazing event for Spokane,” they wrote.

Stephen and Debra Piper of Spokane contributed $150. Charles and Lois Havlicek of Liberty Lake gave $150.

Helen Marksbury gave $125 in memory of Bob. David and Diane Perry of Mead sent $125 “in memory of Bob Butler, a terrific dad whose favorite charity was the Christmas Bureau. God bless.” Tom and Bette Brattebo of Liberty Lake donated $125. “All the best to one and all,” they wrote.

An anonymous donor gave $100 “in memory of my parents and former supporters.” Lynn and Bruce Wagner of Spokane donated $100. Dianne Bongarts of Spokane contributed $100. Raymond and Janet Oligher of Spokane gave $100. Mary Murphy of Spokane donated $100. “This donation is in honor of our friendship with the Connally family – true friends. thanks to all the Santa’s helpers,” she wrote.

Linda Vanlierop of Spokane Valley sent $100. “Thanks for your good works,” she wrote. Chuck and Sharon Preston of Nine Mile Falls contributed $100 “in memory of my brother, Stephan Jones.” Steven and Cyndy Alexander of Otis Orchards gave $100. Earl Shaw of Spokane Valley donated $100.

Patricia Gunderson of Spokane donated $75.

Evelyn Graves of Medical Lake donated $50 in memory of Bill and John Graves. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50 in memory of Mac and Bernie, writing, “A wonderful annual event to support families in need.” Three anonymous Spokane donors each contributed $50.

Lynn Brink of Spokane donated $25. “Thanks to everyone involved,” she wrote. “I’m especially in favor of the assistance – the food voucher, book and toy. My donation is small but many small donations added together can make a goal. Thanks to the Review for the daily coverage of this worthy event.”

Karen Fikke of Spokane contributed $25. “Thank you all for all you do each year,” she wrote. “I hope to volunteer next year.” Jane Lacock of Deer Park gave $25 “to help someone have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.”

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