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Sunday, 08 November 2009 21:16

Fiddlers ReStrung’s Holiday Hometown in Support of Toys for Tots

October 25, 2009

For the past two years, Fiddlers ReStrung has provided a great kickoff to the Saline Fire Department’s Toys for Tot’s campaign drive.  After collecting 150 toys in 2007 and over 1000 in 2008, the expectations are again high for this year’s Fiddlers ReStrung’s Holiday Hometown Concert in Support of Toys for Tots.  In a year when the local economy has suffered terribly, the ability to make a difference with a toy makes this concert all the more powerful.  And during a year where many of the Fiddlers ReStrung performances were dedicated to community service, this concert provides a most fitting way to ring in the holiday season. 

This year’s Holiday Hometown Concert is scheduled for Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm in the Ellen Ewing Performing Arts Center of Saline High School, 1300 Campus Parkway, Saline.  Tickets are $10 for adults, and only $5 for students and seniors.  Reserved tickets are limited.  To purchase an advance ticket, call (734) 944-2283.  After Nov. 10th, tickets can also be purchased in-person at Saline Community Education Office, 200 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline.  The concert takes place on the Sunday after Saline’s traditional annual holiday parade along Michigan Avenue. 

The concert features a collage of local community talent.  Opening performances include the Saline Area School’s 6th Grade Fiddle Club, directed by Fiddlers ReStrung Assistant Artistic Director Cori Smith, as well as the School’s 7th and 8th Grade Fiddle Club, led by Fiddlers ReStrung Artistic Director Josh Herter.  Also performing on stage will be select members of the Saline High School Choir and Saline High School Band, all of whom have graciously offered to donate their time and talent to this special event. 

The Saline Fire Dept. has hosted a toy collection to benefit children identified through Saline Social Services for many years.  It was eight years ago that Saline firefighter and U.S. Marine Corps Reservist Kurt Schneider initiated the fire department’s alliance with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots program.  Shortly thereafter, Fire Chief Craig Hoeft invited the Fiddlers ReStrung to perform at the fire station on the first day of the toy collection campaign.  This concert has grown from that initial collaboration and is becoming an annual tradition in Saline.   “Because of the relationship between two great organizations the less fortunate families of Saline will have an opportunity for a better Christmas," Hoeft said about this event.

The Toys for Tots initiative began in 1947 when the wife of Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, handcrafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked her husband to deliver the doll to an organization that would give it to a needy child at Christmas. Finding that no such agency existed, Major Hendricks took it upon himself, along with a group of Marine Reservists, to form one.  In the first year alone, they collected and distributed over 5,000 toys to needy children.  The following year, Toys for Tots became a nationwide campaign.  A Marine Reservist on weekends, Major Hendricks was in civilian life the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio.  As such, he was able to convince a vast array of celebrities to support the program.  Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo in 1948, which is still used today.   The primary goal has remained the same since its inception: deliver a shiny, new toy at Christmas to America’s needy children as a message of hope.

In the spirit of the Toys for Tots campaign, Fiddlers ReStrung encourages everyone attending the concert to bring a new, unwrapped toy to contribute to the drive. Marines from Selfridge Air Force Base will be on hand to accept your donation.  Donations can also be dropped off at the fire station any day after the concert date up until December 19th.

Fiddlers ReStrung is a 17-piece string ensemble featured at over 80 performances annually, Fiddlers ReStrung proudly displays a diverse arrangement of styles. American Bluegrass, Celtic fiddle, popular folk, Appalachian Step-dancing, Progressive Acoustic, and more are all brought forward with a crisp, enterprising flair. They engage the audience with energy and witty charm, advocating a message of spontaneous enthusiasm born of a genuine live performance.  Among the performances given this year were numerous ones to benefit communities across the region, including retirement homes, community fund raisers for causes including autism and cancer, and a very popular summer reading program for libraries, launched in 2009, that saw ReStrung perform at 11 libraries in Southeastern Michigan

ReStrung consists of students at Saline High School, all of whom share in producing a unique ensemble truly their own. Working alongside leadership, students craft their own arrangements and help make organizational decisions. This collaborative ownership grants ReStrung an authentic creative edge that is clearly visible from the striking energy they portray on stage.  Students are chosen based not only on musical talent, but personal maturity as well.  They balance a demanding performance schedule while maintaining high standards in other school activities, sports, and academics.  The organization is officially sponsored and supported by Saline Area Schools. 

Download a poster for the event.

For Additional Information Regarding this Event, Please Contact:
Rebecca Groeb-Driskill
Cultural Arts Specialist, Saline Area Schools
(734) 429-8000 ext. 2338
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