On Dec. 18 there was no room left at the Blindman Valley Ag Centre parking lot, or inside the hall either, as community, friends and families came to enjoy the annual Bentley School Christmas Concert.
The community-style concert, with food bank donations being accepted at the door, was started four years ago.
Elementary students, and some junior and senior high students, a live auction, and some gift basket draws kept the rapt audience entertained for 90 minutes.
School principal Lane Moore was the master of ceremonies and gave a welcome and introduction. Rev. Adam Kilner opened the program with a winter prayer before the stage was turned over to Ms. Lada Karpova, the temporary fine arts teacher.
First on the program was the ECS class with two little action songs, then the kindergarten students sang some children’s favorites adapted for Christmas.
Grade 12 students Hayley Lush and Heather Lautenbach sang Mariah Carey’s song “All I Want for Christmas is You” a cappella.
The grades 7-9 fine arts students had been busy. They performed the play “Santa’s Courtroom” that school students Taylor Hand and Desiree Smith had written about old-time fairy tale characters including Cinderella, Robin Hood, the Three Little Pigs, and more getting blamed by Santa’s elf.
They followed that with Michael Bublé’s song “Grown-Up Christmas List.”
Before the 10-minute intermission, the group did a staging based on the Robert Munsch kid’s book “Thomas’ Snowsuit.”
The final group performance was the musical play “I Need a Little Christmas Vacation” by John Jacobson. All grades of elementary students were involved with grades 4, 5, and 6 doing the acting and everyone doing the songs.
Lautenbach closed the official program with a rendition of “Ave Maria.”
Ms. Karpova, or Miss “K” as she has become accustomed to being called, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a token of appreciation from staff and students.
There was a live auction on a secret table of gifts — most of the gifts were wrapped so you didn’t know what you were bidding on, with Principal Moore assuming the part of the auctioneer. It brought $300.
The evening ended with draws for the lucky winners of each classroom’s gift basket.
Each classroom had a theme picked, and then had donated items to go towards their basket. The end result was a significant value to each laundry basket full of merchandise. People purchased tickets before the concert and throughout the evening.
The money raised, about$1730 between the raffle and auction table, will be used to assist families in need within the community.
The school strives to give back to the community. They had already collected for the Gifts for Grandparents program and had distributed 40 gift bags to residents of Westview Apartments, the Bentley Care Centre and to Oxford Court. The rest of the donations were taken to Red Deer to Family Services of Central Alberta for distribution.