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Bernardston Kiwanis Club to raise money for Pioneer band, chorus

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club members, from left, Nathan Wade, Russ Deane, and Damon Whitaker, make chicken pot pies in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club members make chicken pot pies in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Russ Deane makes chicken pot pies at the United Church of Bernardston, Tuesday. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club members, from left, Dan Devine, Damon Whitaker, and Russ Deane, make chicken pot pies in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Some of the chicken pot pies made by Bernardston Kiwanis Club members for a fundraising dinner this Saturday. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Bob Messer, left, and David Lorenz put together boxes for the chicken pot pies being made by fellow Bernardston Kiwanis Club members for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Russ Deane makes chicken pot pies with fellow Bernardston Kiwanis Club members in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club members make chicken pot pies in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club members make chicken pot pie in the kitchen of the United Church of Bernardston for a fundaising dinner for the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

BERNARDSTON — The Bernardston Kiwanis Club is kicking off its season of chicken pot pie dinners by dedicating the first one to a worthy cause: the Pioneer Valley Regional School band and chorus.

According to Dan Devine, chairman of the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s chicken pot pie committee, the group is donating all proceeds from a dinner on Saturday at the United Church of Bernardston to the school band and chorus.

“We want to have this be one of our better (fundraising dinners),” Devine said. “Our guys want to hit it hard and try to get whatever we can for ‘em.”

Both the band and chorus are seeking money for separate trips to Washington, D.C. — April 6 to 9 for chorus and from April 26 to 29 for band.

According to Band Director Tim Burns, as part of the Heritage Festival the students in both his concert band and marching band will be evaluated by a panel of judges, participate in a clinic with a Washington, D.C. area band director, and play for passersby where there’s a crowd.

“We started the year off with a bang because everyone was excited about the end of the year,” Burns said, noting that students are usually most eager for the regional Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) festival.

“I think (the Washington, D.C., trip is) what people are really excited about,” he continued. “They’re excited to get out of the area and see a totally different area of this country.”

Meanwhile, Chorus Director Mandy Oliver said Pioneer’s chorus was selected to be part of the “American Musical Salute: Commemorating the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.” by Historic Programs, a nonprofit organization that commemorates the past. The “salute” commemorates the 50th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

According to the Historic Programs’ invitation, the students will take part in a mass band and choir performance of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” and “God Bless America” in a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. The group was also invited to perform a 20-minute concert the following day, also at the Lincoln Memorial, featuring music of Oliver’s choosing.

Neither trip is easy to come by, though. Burns said that for his 46 students to go, it will cost over $30,000. The chorus trip is comparable, costing about $650 per student, Oliver said.

Both groups have taken to fundraising, with band students playing Christmas carols at “A Special Day in Northfield” for donations, raising over $1,000 through a September tag sale, and selling fruit and fudge, Burns said.

“Some students paid off their entire bill with just that alone,” Burns said of the fruit and fudge sale, describing it as “a big success.” The band’s fundraising efforts have decreased the per person cost to about $470, he added.

Meanwhile, the chorus put on a November telethon that raised about $4,000, Oliver said. She also hopes people might donate at a Feb. 16 chorus concert at Pioneer, which will start at 7 p.m. There’s no admission fee, and Oliver said all music will be in the theme of empowerment, empathy and unity, keeping in line with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision.

Both Oliver and Burns agreed the band and chorus have a long way to go in their fundraising, making the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s help greatly appreciated. As Devine’s children were in band as well, the fundraiser hits close to home.

“I remember raising money for those band trips,” Devine said. “It takes a lot. Saturday’s dinner will have two seatings at 5 and 6:15 p.m.” Admission is $10 and includes all-you-can-eat chicken pot pie, a side of butternut squash, dinner rolls, carrot cake for dessert, and drinks. Devine said there will also be a raffle, and Pioneer students will help serve food and clean up.

Alternatively, residents can purchase frozen chicken pot pies to take home for $12 each.