The National Arts Centre Orchestra Players’ Association welcomes guest conductor Mrs. Laureen Harper and guest artist Julie Nesrallah for the annual free Christmas FanFair concert

National Arts Centre Orchestra Players Association/News Release

The National Arts Centre Orchestra Players’ Association is pleased to welcome special guest conductor Mrs. Laureen Harper and special guest artist mezzo-soprano and CBC radio host Julie Nesrallah for the annual Christmas FanFair Concert and Carol Sing-Along in support of the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund. Musicians from the NAC Orchestra will present their popular free annual holiday concert in the main foyer of the National Arts Centre at 12 noon on Sunday December 11.

“I am proud to be the guest conductor of this wonderful concert,” said Mrs. Laureen Harper. “The National Arts Centre Orchestra Players’ Association works hard to collect donations of money, food and snowsuits for two Ottawa charities during the holiday season. The concert is a way for the musicians to say thank you to thousands of audience members who take part in this holiday effort every year.”

Hosted by the NAC’s Rosemary Thompson, the concert will feature members of the NAC Orchestra conducted by violist David Thies-Thompson with guest conductor ¬¬¬¬Mrs. Laureen Harper, special guest Julie Nesrallah, and violist Paul Casey, winner of the Harold Crabtree Foundation Award in the 2011 National Arts Centre Bursary Competition.

Come early, at 11 a.m., for the annual sale of home-baked seasonal specialties made by the Friends of the NAC Orchestra. There is free NAC parking – for the Christmas FanFair audience only -- until 2 p.m. Light lunch and refreshments will be available for purchase in the Foyer. Of course, the concert will include the famous FanFair Christmas Carol Sing-Along. Santa Claus himself will be in attendance, so bring the whole family!

Last year the National Arts Centre Orchestra Player’s Association donated more than $30,000 to the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund through fundraising efforts over the holidays. “With the holidays approaching, food banks and care groups are busy gathering supplies and funds for the cold season ahead,” said Christmas FanFair organizer and NACO assistant principal double bass Marjolaine Fournier.

“We like to do our part by raising funds for the Snowsuit Fund and the Food Bank to make the holiday season a little easier for families in need,” said David Thies-Thompson, NACO violist and one of the principal FanFair organizers.

Begun in 1989, this is now the third decade for the Christmas FanFair benefit produced by the musicians of the NAC Orchestra to benefit the Snowsuit Fund and the Food Bank. The Snowsuit Fund is an Ottawa-based charity that has been raising funds for the purchase and distribution of snowsuits to needy children aged 15 years and under for more than 26 years. The demand for their services continues to grow. In 2010-2011, the Snowsuit Fund distributed 15,367 new snowsuits and to date this year, 13,386 new snowsuits and hundreds of gently used winter items have already been distributed – 600 more items than this time last year. The Ottawa Food Bank provides 45,000 people each month with emergency food assistance, 37% of whom are children. The Ottawa Food Bank supports more than 140 food agencies throughout the National Capital Region, distributing 12 tons of food every working day. In 2010, $16 million worth of food was distributed. $1 donated to the Ottawa Food Bank generates $5 worth of food into the community.

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Gerald Morris
Communications Officer
National Arts Centre Orchestra
(613) 947-7000 ext 335


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