By Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference Communication Director; Re-posted by permission, March 4, 2015 Originally published in the Gleaner, Feb 2015 [Click link to see photos that go with this article.]
The holiday season has a full lineup of school Christmas concerts. For Northwest Christian School (NCS) in Puyallup, their Christmas concert almost didn’t happen because thieves stole the school’s musical instruments and other items on Oct. 27, 2014.
The local news stations and publications picked up the theft story, and the community rallied to provide donations and musical instruments to help the music program get back in session. Music stores and associations reached out to the school to offer their services and support.
To show its appreciation to the community, the school invited community donors to attend the back-on-the-schedule Christmas program on Dec. 17.
“We are filled with gratitude,” said Craig Mattson, NCS principal, at the opening of the concert. “We experienced an outpouring of support that was overwhelming. We are here tonight because of the support of our community.”
The audience of 450 people arrived early, and hardly a seat was empty for this special hour-and-a-half concert. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade showcased their musical abilities by singing Christmas carols and playing their donated and loaned band instruments, hand bells and chimes.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” says Claira Hockenson, NCS music teacher. “They did a great job with the Christmas concert even though they had a little less practice because of the theft.”
About two months after the theft, detectives recovered 30 of the 42 stolen instruments. Music store partners are repairing the band instruments after their careless storage.
At the close of the concert, the school gave a bell-shaped Christmas ornament to the families in attendance as a way to commemorate their gratitude for how God took care of the school’s music program.