It can be difficult for Canadians, with our publicly funded education system, to imagine being unable to afford to send our children to school — or being unable to afford to pay the people who teach our children.
But that’s exactly what’s happening in a small village school in the West African country of Liberia. Sometimes for months on end, the school can’t afford to pay its teachers, yet they continue to teach their students.
Ever year, Humanwave.com changes that with its annual ‘A Cozy Christmas’ benefit concert, which takes place this year at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 16th at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough
Also sponsored by Showplace, the 15th annual concert will raise enough money to pay each teacher one month’s wages, which Humanwave.com will send on to the teachers in time for them to buy food for Christmas.
Aside from raising funds, ‘A Cozy Christmas’ is also a wonderful afternoon of stories and music (including classical, R&B, traditional Christmas carols, and fun Christmas songs) to get you in the Christmas spirit.
With the theme “Timeless Treasures of Christmas”, the show will feature music by Bridget Foley & the Gospel Girls (and guys), 4 Front (Theresa Foley, Terry Finn, Sheila Prophet, Norma Curtis), Colleen Anthony (Foley), Christina Heath from Hamilton, The Stage Cafe Band, Amelia Foley, Janina and John Kraus and family, Lizzeh Basciano, and Murray and Sibernie James-Bosch (Murray is from Peterborough but plays with Classic Albums Live bands such as Meatloaf).
The show will also feature stories about Christmas traditions by master storyteller Hugh Foley, who is well known from his involvement in Foley’s Irish Pub and Foley’s East Coast Pub.
The Foley family is always front and centre at ‘A Cozy Christmas’ because Theresa Foley (who is also Showplace’s Box Office Manager) is a co-founder of Humanwave.com, along with Peter Brown.
Since the 1990s, the charity has been raising awareness and making a difference in the world, including in Africa by raising funds for the drilling of safe water wells, the creation of school food program, the sponsoring of students whose families can’t afford to pay school fees, and by helping to pay teachers in those schools.
However, although Humanwave.com raised more funds last year than ever before, the proceeds sent to Africa were less than ever before — because the funds are paid in American dollars, and the Canadian dollar is at its weakest value in 15 years.
So, to try to make up the difference, this year’s A Cozy Christmas will also include a silent auction and a small shopping village.
Local businesses that have donated items to the silent auction include McLean Berry Farm, Sue Gentle (Pampered Chef), Showplace Performance Centre, Under One Sun, Stephs’s Sweet Scrubs, and more. If you’d like to donate an item to the silent auction, call Theresa Foley at 705-760-6437.
The shopping village will be located in the Nexicom Studio and will be open for an hour before the show and during intermission.
The village will feature the silent auction table, along with vendors selling small gift items and stocking stuffers, including natural wreaths and wooden items from Barb Newman’s “Thistles and Sticks”, tree ornaments and charms made of polished beach glass and pebbles from Rose St. Thomas’s “Heartfelt Shore”, handy kitchen accessories from Sue Sevigny Gentle’s “Pampered Chef”, original art from Charlene Foley’s “Abstract Art”, and more.
While you shop at the village, Fiddling Jay Edmunds will be supplying Christmas music and the lower bar will feature rum and eggnog as well as the usual fare of beverages for you to enjoy.
“A Cozy Christmas” takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 16th at Showplace Performance Centre (290 George St. N., Peterborough).
Tickets are $20 for adults or $10 for students or the underwaged, and are available at the Showplace Box Office, by phone at 705-742-7469, or online at www.showplace.org.