Academy reaches out with down-home gala

After a short hiatus from the gala fundraising scene, the Chilliwack Academy of Music is back – with a new approach.

After a short hiatus from the gala fundraising scene, the Chilliwack Academy of Music is back – with a new approach.

“We are primarily a classical music conservatory, though there are tons of exceptions,” says principal Graham Yates, “But we thought that there may be a wider audience of music-lovers out there for our fundraisers if we appealed to a different market.”

With that objective in mind, the Academy’s Valentine Hoedown was born.

While some couples will be enjoying fine dining with soft classical music on that most romantic of evenings, Hoedown guests will enjoy a delicious meal of pulled pork with all the “fixins” and cut loose on the dance floor with a live country band.  Some couples may exchange carefully wrapped gifts; while Hoedown couples compete in couples-oriented fun and games such as a “milking” contest on a stylized cow, “Horsey Hops,” and “Redneck Ringtoss” to win amazing prizes like jewelry, an iPad, or a trip to a ranch, courtesy of some generous local sponsors.

“We’re looking to carve out a niche that doesn’t exist in Chilliwack,” says event organizer Bonnie Mason. Whether you’re young or old, whether you’re a die-hard country fan or you just like supporting community fundraisers, she adds, “It’s going to be loads of fun!!” Where else can you go to support local youth musicians, playing games for prizes? Organizers, who are volunteer members of the Academy’s board, are hoping to fill all 140 seats at the Mt Cheam Lions Hall.

Guests at the Valentine’s Hoedown will enjoy a fantastic evening while supporting the development of young musicians. The Academy, founded in 1979 in order to bring quality music education to the community, enrols 500 students each year in lessons, group classes, and various community outreaches, including programs and bursaries for underprivileged families. Its students share their gifts at the local music festival, senior’s homes, special events, community musicals and orchestra concerts, as well as recitals that are free and open to the public. Academy students range from newborn to 81 and study all styles and types of instruments from voice, piano and orchestral instruments to guitar and drums. As a charitable organization, the Academy offers the highest calibre teacher for the most competitive rate and encourages an active, involved musical community in the city.

Tickets can be purchased at the Cultural Centre box office (604.391.SHOW) or at London Drugs for $48 each ($96 per couple). The event will be Feb. 18 at the Mt Cheam Lions Hall, 45580 Spadina ave, at 6:30 pm.