“Neighborhood Concerts,” Ensign, Dec. 2003, 64
Since our family has moved often throughout the United States and Europe, we wanted to establish a successful holiday tradition that could be done wherever we lived. Based on an idea I read about, we began several years ago to host yearly neighborhood Christmas benefit concerts.
Held at our home in early December, the concert is for everyone on our street. Several weeks in advance we deliver invitations, encouraging all the neighborhood children to think about their talents and decide on one to share, either individually or in a group. Our concerts have featured a variety of talents, including musical performances, poetry readings, displays of art projects and athletic trophies, gymnastics, and magic tricks.
Each family is also invited to bring Christmas goodies to share. At the appointed hour, we welcome everyone to our home. Then with our video camera rolling, we record the children performing or demonstrating their talents. After the benefit concert, the children pass around a donation container to collect proceeds for a charitable organization in the community. One year, they collected canned goods for the local food bank. The children are always thrilled to see how their collective efforts can raise substantial contributions.
After the concert, we enjoy visiting with one another while eating the goodies from our potluck refreshment table. And the children love viewing themselves on video while they eat.
If our Christmas holiday season has been too busy to accommodate this activity, we have an Easter benefit concert instead. Our concerts have appealed to all ages, even to neighbors whose children are grown. Through the years, this simple activity has helped us build strong friendships in our various neighborhoods. In fact, after we have lived a year or two in an area, our neighbors begin to ask, “When are you holding this year’s benefit concert?”
Diane Robinson Haines, Crescent Park Fourth Ward, Sandy Utah Crescent Park Stake