Parkcrest Elementary students to receive 30 ukuleles to replace those lost in fire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Parkcrest Elementary students to receive 30 ukuleles to replace those lost in fire

Members of the Kamloops Ukulele Orchestra raised funds through their annual concert to purchase the class set of instruments.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Kamloops Ukulele Orchestra
February 14, 2020 - 4:10 PM

The community continues to support the students and staff at Parkcrest Elementary School in Kamloops, five months after the blaze that destroyed the school.

Two days after the school year began on Sept. 5, 2020, more than 350 students and 40 staff at Parkcrest Elementary lost almost all of their books, supplies and musical instruments in the fire.

Within hours, local organizations and individuals were arranging fundraisers and other events to replace the lost items. There were book drives, donations from organizations, free child care offers and more. Although the staff and students have a new space at George Hilliard Elementary School, they still haven’t regained everything that was lost.

The Kamloops Ukulele Orchestra decided shortly after hearing of the fire that they would step in to replace the small string instruments lost in the blaze. The students lost 15 ukuleles, and the group decided to double the school’s previous inventory.

“Before, they had a half class set. We had a lot of discussion within our group whether we wanted them to have a half class set or whether we wanted to build up that money so they could have a full class set, and we figured that every student in the class would want to be able to play,” president of the Kamloops Ukuleles Orchestra Nicolette Eadie says.

The group has around 80 members of differing skills, and every year they host a concert where each level can show off their talents. The tickets are sold by donation, and this year members Jeanette Scott and Bonnie Marlow pushed for Parkcrest Elementary students to be the recipients of their fundraising efforts.

“We had a committee that organized that concert and we always decide where the money is going to go,” Eadie says. “They put their heads together and because of what had happened at Parkcrest, that’s what they decided to do.”

The group didn’t raise enough at the concert to meet their goal of purchasing 30 brand new ukuleles, so the group got the remaining amount from their group fund. In total, the ukuleles cost $2,087.65. All of the ukuleles were purchased from Empire Music in Vancouver.

“We’ve done small donations here and there, we’ve given to (Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music) and to a couple of churches, and we’ve made smaller donations to a number of different areas, but this is the largest one we’ve ever made.”

Members of the orchestra will hand over the donations to students on Feb. 24, and Eadie says they will spend some time playing with the students.

“There’s a number of people going from our group and we're going to teach them some songs, or at least teach them a couple of chords so they can play along with us,” Eadie says.

For past stories on the Parkcrest Elementary School fire go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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