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Community theatre production brings people together

Written on March 17th, 2008

[caption id=”attachment_3419” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]MatchMakerFS Sara Weber as Mrs. Dolly Levi and Ed VanBeilen as Horace
Vandergelder in The Matchmaker.[/caption]

Also raises $28,000 for school

A recent community theatre production brought parents, alumni and friends of Hamilton District Christian High (HDCH) together and raised $28,000 for the school.

While the funds were a bonus, Harry Meester, director of recruitment and advancement, says the real success of the event was how it fostered new relationships.

Christian high schools can find it challenging to build community for two main reasons; their constituencies are typically spread over a large geographic area and students are with the school for a relatively short period of time.

Having a community theatre production proved to be a fabulous way to bring people together to work on a common goal, to get to know one another and to have fun.

HDCH’s fundraising committee organized the production of Thornton Wilder’s The MatchMaker. More than 100 parents, alumni and friends volunteered their time and energy to building sets, making costumes, preparing and serving food, and acting.

“There was a sense of celebration,” says Meester of the entire process. “A real sense of camaraderie and joy.”

Rick Kuipers, a parent, was one of those who volunteered his time as an actor.

He says doing so allowed him to fulfill a dream of performing onstage as well as provided a way to support the school, and to meet more people from the school community.

“I enjoyed all parts of it, including the practices and meeting new friends,” says Kuipers. “Most of the people there I hadn’t met prior to the play.

“I would now call them my friends.”

Karen Tichgelaar, a member of the fundraising committee, says that’s what the committee had set out to do; raise funds and help make connections.

She was excited to see people working together “for the same goal, for our kids and to further Christian education and to keep things alive and vibrant at the school.”

More than 700 tickets were sold for the theatrical production, which ran for three nights.

A dessert theatre was offered on the first night at $25 a plate, a buffet dinner on the second night at $50 a plate, and a formal dinner on the third night at $75 per person.

The funds raised will be used to backfill the operating accounts of the school and reduce tuition pressure on parents. HDCH has an annual budget of $4 million. It is the largest Christian high school in Ontario.