Week of December 11, 2000
Choir sings to raise funds for charity
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
There is no Santa sliding down the chimney in a new CD released by a local choral group. What it offers instead is a reflection of the true meaning of Christmas.
"To give this CD is to give Christmas to people," said Henry Williams, founder of the Willan Academy choir. "It's not ho-ho music, it talks about the birth of Christ.
"(Money raised) is shared in so many ways that whoever buys it they'll probably know someone who will benefit from it in some way . . . there are so many who benefit from just one CD."
Some members of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League are selling the CD in their churches and will receive a portion of the sales.
The bulk of the money will go to the Father Francis Foundation and Wings of Hope.
Wings of Hope is a recently established charity inspired by the work of hospital attendant Rose Derenowski. After a request from a missionary doctor in Nigeria, Derenowksi began collecting used latex gloves.
The collection grew to other medical supplies, either used, outdated or those not meeting hospital standards. Often one too many packages of bandages are opened and the ones which are left over are thrown out, said Derenowski.
"The hospitals can't use them if they've been opened, so they throw them out. They're not used, but the hospital can't put them back on the shelf."
Used tensor bandages are laundered at the hospital and thrown out because hospital regulations do not permit reusing them, said Derenowski. She collects about 1,500 tensor bandages daily and has given them to local sports groups and schools.
Other supplies include old bedding, and medical equipment that are outdated in North American hospitals, but a Godsend in poorer countries. Derenowski has about 10 tonnes of medical supplies in storage. She recently sent three truckloads of supplies to Bosnia via a peacekeeping troop.
The CD project hopes to raise $15,000 to help transport the supplies to countries like Guatemala, Zambia and Yugoslavia.
The Father Francis Foundation, a Knights' initiative, is raising money to help buy a more reliable car for a Kenyan priest who runs a pastoral program and travels extensively.
Some proceeds will also go towards scholarships for the Willan Academy choir, which is comprised of 36 professionally trained children and adult vocalists specializing in contemporary and classical sacred music.
Three Christmas CDs are available, two with more traditional choral Christmas music, while the third is holiday music in a Gregorian chant style.
The choir will also perform at the Winspear Centre, Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets available at the centre. For more information or to order CDs, call 452-8479.