A Season Of Giving

By Andrew White

It’s Monday evening, and we’ve just had another brilliant weekend of student performances. Sixty students showing off their skills on piano, woodwinds, drums, voice, guitar, and more - what a memorable weekend. As we pack away all the trinkets, I can’t help but reflect on all the recital weekends we have hosted, nine in total now, and realize how this one stood head and shoulders above the rest. 

Was it the fancy programs, or the tasty treats at the hospitality table? Perhaps the suave medals, or surely the gorgeous Schimmel Grand Piano? No, none of these. They certainly helped set a great atmosphere, made it feel like a special set of recitals, and for that we are grateful. This recital stood head and shoulders above the rest because of one conversation I had at the side of the auction table a few minutes before the first recital started. 

One guest in attendance leaned towards me and said, “If it weren’t for Seattle Children’s my daughter wouldn’t be alive today. When she was just 3 weeks old, her heart…” And that was enough for tears to be shed, and the story came to an abrupt conclusion. 

This was our first recital where we chose to highlight a worthy non-profit to receive 100% of our ticket sales and auction item sales. Seattle Children’s was an easy choice after seeing one of my students go through an elongated stay there this past summer, receiving a level of care far superior to what we normally expect. Our goal was set at $1,500, and as the auction items began to trickle in, we were hoping for five, and then we had five, so we hoped for ten, and then we had ten. We ended up with sixteen items, all so worthy of a high price tag. 

The bids came flying in this weekend from the left and right, with the hundreds of guest in attendance placing their bids on the great items. It’s so exciting to not just see people looking for a good deal on a Christmas gift, but people who see the recommended retail price of the item and then triple it for their bid. It restores your faith in humanity, at least for one weekend. 

Our goal was $1,500 and we had hit that goal just in our first night, we were only half-way through. Some donors even doubled their donation so that we could award multiple bidders the item and we closed out the auction last night with a miraculous $3,000 raised. Wow! 

As we start handing out the items to the winning bidders today, I am sitting here so grateful for all of our students and AWSOM families who acknowledge this season of giving, and acknowledge it extravagantly. Let’s not forget that this season is exactly that, a season for giving. A season for being thankful. A season for giving back. 

Thank you to all of you this past weekend who demonstrated that beyond words. 

You are AWSOM, and we are so grateful for you!