Last fall, for the third time in the last six years, Catriona and Chris Harker gathered together their loyal, industrious and by now, knowledgeable team of five couples and asked, “Do you think we can do it?”. They were referring to buying a night of musical theatre from the High School Chris retired from in 1999 and then reselling the tickets at a considerable mark-up to friends and supporters of CHES. In 2012 the audience watched “The Wizard of Oz”. Two years later it was “42nd Street”. This year the Gershwin classic “Crazy for You” was on the programme.
With the team’s support, Chris made the necessary arrangements with the school. Little happened until early April when one and all began the ticket selling campaign. Though sales were slow at first, by the night of the performance, May 24, the 250 seat theatre was more than 80% full.
The evening began with Chris and Catriona welcoming the guests and providing a short power point outlining the objectives of CHES. Then, a highlight: Sarah Mwamire, a 22 year old CHES graduate from Kenya now attending post graduate studies in Vancouver, spoke to the audience, describing her background and pointing out how different her life would have been without the support of CHES.
The show was wonderful; a student orchestra supported a tremendous cast with strong performances from the lead characters and enthusiastic backing from an enormous chorus. After the curtain calls, there were draws for “Door Prizes” that had been donated, the tickets having been sold during the interval. Prizes varied from nights in downtown hotels, to artwork, to gift certificates from vineyards and local merchants.
We appreciate the generosity of those who attended…. and even those who didn’t for many were not able to attend but donated anyway. And it is doubtful that anyone got away without buying a string of tickets for the Door Prizes. The final tally, after all expenses, was slightly over $13,000.
We would like to thank our trusty team as well as those who attended and even those who didn’t – but contributed; for all contributed to the welfare of nearly 700 young ladies in Kenya and Tanzania. It was such a successful evening that we are inevitably forced to wonder if we will be asking that same question in two years’ time. We wonder what the show will be!