Bakersfield College's music program would like your holidays to be merry, bright and full of giving. Two seasonal fundraisers this month will help raise money for an upcoming tour and master class.
First up is Saturday's "Not-So-Silent Night," the annual culinary caroling holiday fundraiser dinner. (Editor's note: The dinner is now sold out.)
Entertainment will be provided by the BC Chamber Singers performing as an ensemble as well as in small groups and soloists. BC choral director Jennifer Garrett said the program will include "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "African Noel," "We Need a Little Christmas," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Carol of the Bells," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Caroling, Caroling" and a "crazy version" of "Jingle Bells."
Dinner will be catered by Coconut Joe's with a menu consisting of chicken and pulled pork, rolls, salad, beans and salsa.
"It will be yummy!" Garrett wrote in an email.
Those with a sweet tooth can also pick up a dessert. Ranging from $1 to $4, treats will include brownies, cupcakes, peanut butter balls, cake and pie slices and more.
A live and silent auction will offer an assortment of gift-worthy items for those on your list (or yourself). Among the goodies up for grabs are tickets (Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Wynonna & the Big Noise at the Fox Theater, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Ovation Theatre, Harlem Globetrotters, "Pavarotti" documentary at Fox Theater) as well a caroling gig by the Chamber Singers and themed baskets, including a "Frozen II" one for Disney fans and others with candles and jewelry.
This is the sixth annual dinner for the BC choral department. Garrett said they're hoping to draw about 200, a slight drop from previous years but necessary given this year's location (BC gym huddle while the campus center is being renovated). The fundraising goal is $5,000.
She wrote, "We have made that (amount) and more in the past but we usually do it at the beginning of December when no one has already spent money and donated to other worthy causes!"
Funds will go toward a planned tour to Vietnam in June 2021.
She wrote, "The students each contribute $1,200 to $1,500 so really we are looking at $100,000 that we need to raise to make sure that every Chamber Singer — regardless of financial situations can attend.
"I do not want to leave anyone behind. We are a family and so we need to all go together."
The BC Chamber Singers will travel with two other college ensembles, performing in various venues such as a palace, church and riverboat. They will also participate in several exchanges with Vietnam choirs, which Garrett said is one of their favorite parts of touring.
With previous visits to Italy in 2015 and Australia in 2018, Garrett said these trips offer a life-changing opportunity for the music students.
"I want the members of the BC Chamber Singers to experience a culture different than their own. I know it will open their minds and hearts and change their lives for the better."
Also helping to raise funds is the first-ever Jack Frost Jubilee on Dec. 20 at the BC Performing Arts Center. Running from 6 to 9 p.m., this children's event will offer busy parents a few child-free hours to run some errands or unwind.
Kids age 4 to 16 can decorate sugar cookies, enjoy hot chocolate, color, take photos with Santa and carol with the BC Choirs. After the activities, they can sit down in the indoor theater for a screening of "Rise of the Guardians," a 2012 PG-rated film about the team-up of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and Jack Frost to take on a dark force.
Garrett wrote, "For the Jubilee, kids are welcome to come in their pajamas! It will be so much fun and we will do something similar on Valentine's Day!"
Parents and guardians are welcome to hang out and only need to pay ($8) if they stay for the movie, which starts at 7:15 p.m.
If parents don't decide to stay, they can simply sign a waiver when their children check in. Children will also be checked in with a number to make sure there's no confusion with pickup at the end of the night.
While some Jubilee funds will go toward the Vietnam trip, the rest will help bring in someone to do a master class this spring for the applied music program, Garrett said.
The choral director said she is excited to find fun ways for the community to help support the students.
"The Bakersfield College Choirs put in an amazing amount of time and effort in regards to the excellence of the program and to creating opportunities such as the tours and guests we bring in. ... I want to create opportunities for them and I know that I cannot do it alone. We must rely on our community and college to help these dreams become a reality."