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10 March 2011 @ 02:32 am
Can you make a lifelong memory for $5?  
Yes, yes you can. Hang on, for those who don't read subject lines, I'm just going to do a spot of textual throat clearing –


Thanks, chaps and chapettes, sorry for the complete lack of subtlety, but this one really is on the more important side of the things you will read here.

It's about Christchurch, New Zealand, and a bunch of teenagers known as the Linwood College Orchestra. They go to a Christchurch school that is nice, but poor (and currently closed until it can pass building inspection). It has kids from all sorts of backgrounds, with not a lot of cash, but with really fantastic teachers and an arts programme that keeps kids massively motivated to both attend school and achieve academically.

Most of the kids in the orchestra can't afford to own their own instruments, but the school has a good rental system and a music director, Tony Ryan, who has spent the last 30 years building something truly special. For a taste of what they can do, click here and enjoy a couple of the orchestra videos.

My friends Peter and Vicki Hyde are two of the Linwood parents and like most of the school community they've spent the last two years trying to raise money to send the orchestra on an Invitational Tour of Europe. It's an amazing trip – Paris, Rome, Bucharest – culminating in a performance at Westminster Abbey on Anzac Day. This last is a massive thing in itself, more on that below.

With enormous amounts of support from the local community, and an incredible number of sausage sizzles, cake stalls, busking days and calendar sales, they'd raised most of the funds for the trip but were still NZ$50,000 short. They had every confidence they would be able to raise this in the big efforts they had planned for the last month and a half before the kids set off.

Until their city was torn apart on the 22nd of February by a massive earthquake that has claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands without homes and workplaces. Even the theatre where they were to have played a gala fundraising concert is now unusable.

And look, I know that it's natural to think that perhaps this is a little thing in the face of such destruction. But I would ask you to think back to your childhood – for many of us our most abiding memories are those of dreams fulfilled or dreams denied. These kids and their families have all spent the last two years working very hard for the dream of touring cities most of them have only heard of and playing in places many of them have never even seen on television.

They have gone from holding occasional cake sales to help poorer kids with instrument rentals to raising NZ$150,000 in the last two years. They slaved themselves out to stack shelves in shops for cash. The kids have sat through endless rehearsals and their parents have ferried them to endless concerts (as well as eating an unholy amount of cake and buying fundraising calendars as gifts for almost everyone they know) for two years, all because at the end of that time there would be the fulfillment of a dream.

Now they stand to lose it all because there is no way to make up the remainder of the sum needed in their local community. And they need dreams now. The school has lost one of its students, many of the kids have lost homes, for the rest there is an incredible amount of destruction to the daily traffic of life, from suburbs still largely cut off by impassable roads to parents who no longer have a place of work.

Fifty thousand New Zealand dollars will pick up an orchestra's worth of children and reassure them that hard work is rewarded. But it will also let the people of Christchurch know that they have people looking out for them, well beyond the initial shock that we all felt and expressed when we saw the disaster unfold on our television screens a fortnight ago.

What would be terrific is if you could not buy a cup of coffee today, and maybe not tomorrow either, but instead, follow the links to the credit card donation or Paypal account below and donate that $5 to Linwood College. And if you could grab a few of your mates at work, or a few of your friends and family, and ask them to do the same thing.

Because the thing is -- it's not that much money. If everyone here could give just $5 US or Australian (3.62 euros or £3.12), that would be over NZ$3900. The brilliant femmequixotic , shezan  and wemyss  have already talked about this on their LJs and it would be wonderful for others to boost the signal. And if each of us can then prod another three people to give the same, and they each prod another three – we're there. We'll have provided a young Kiwi musician with a lifetime of brilliant memories – and a break from the everyday crap that they have at the moment – for coffee money.

To reach the credit card or Paypal button, click here for the appeal's emergency website. It's being hosted by the Hydes who are real people that I know well in real life and who are a trusted part of the school community. They're a bit amazing and I will talk a little bit more about them under the cut, too.

If you have just had a very successful day at the horses, or belong to an organisation that might be able to sponsor the school, or else live in New Zealand, there are also more details below the cut.

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you a thousandfold if you're currently deciding that you can cope with crappy instant coffee for a couple of days if it can do that much good.

A bit more housekeeping 
For those who live in New Zealand, or for cheque accounts in any currency, you can send cheques payable to Linwood School PTA -- Orchestra to this address: 
Linwood School PTA -- Orchestra
PO Box 19760
Christchurch 8241
New Zealand

For direct New Zealand bank transfers and large overseas donations:
Orchestra Trust Fund
Ainger Tomlin Trust Account
Ref No: L1015
It is important to cite the reference number as that identifies the College Orchestra account.

Trust accounts incur a transaction/exchange fee, so are best used for large-scale ($500+) international donations, using the following SWIFT code for the bank: ANZBNZ22 . I believe the within NZ fee is comparatively small.

For those who wish to contact the school or parents' group to discuss sponsorship: 
Margaret Paiti, Linwood College Principal +64 (0)21 90 83 53
Vicki Hyde

Why ANZAC Day matters so much
The highlight of the tour will be the ANZAC Day commemoration performance at Westminster Abbey. It's hard to explain the importance of ANZAC Day in the psyches of New Zealanders and Australians – the original day that it commemorates was an appalling loss of life in a military blunder, where only the sheer tenacity and courage shown by the ANZAC soldiers shone. Despite its beginnings, it has come to be a day where both countries share the deep bond they hold with each other and with the UK, even as we honour those who have served and mourn the dead.

New Zealand and Australia both have another national day, and each observes Remembrance Day, but ANZAC Day somehow means more. It is a day of seriousness and of dedication. Traditionally commemorations are also held in Britain, which is read as the Mother Country saying a sincere thank you. It's not uncommon for members of the Royal Family to attend the official services, and despite the fact that many New Zealanders are intellectually Republicans, the Queen, the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales and his sons are for the most part thought of with respect and affection and it would be nice to play for them.

To perform at Westminster Abbey on ANZAC Day is a sacred thing, even for the most secular among us. It is a thing that matters in the deep ways that cannot be explained, where the honour is not for oneself, but for all, and for those who have gone before. And while that is sentimental, it is the sort of sentiment that binds and grounds us and makes us better as a community.

The Hyde family
We've known the Hydes for seven years -- our Cookie cat loves two of their children (she hates most kids), and we each borrow the other's camping gear depending on who is in which country. We've helped their kids with their homework, they've picked us up from airports and given us their spare room for a week, and we have loads of connections through our peer groups and some of the organisations we belong to, in which they have had significant leadership roles.

When the news of the earthquake came through, they were the last of our close friends to check in, and we were biting our nails the whole time. They live in the east of the city, where the damage was worst, and their house is on the side of a hill, which we had often joked looked as though it could fall on them. Bits of it did, though the house is structurally sound, despite having many of its contents destroyed. At the time of the quake their daughter was in hospital and one of their sons was missing for some time, though they reunited quickly enough. They were evacuated multiple times, their old dog dying of stress on one of the journeys. For the first week they had no power, when I last spoke with them a few days ago, they still had no water.

But they're Kiwis. They hooked up to a telecom tower to power their laptop and gather what information they could about what was happening in the city in the days before official help made it to their part of the city. They set up noticeboards in the centre of their town where people could share information, from resources that were available to who had found and lost pets. They put up a website to let locals know what was going on, and strongly agitated for emergency support for those outside the CBD, where the death toll was lower, but the number of people facing difficulties with day to day life vastly higher. They used their contacts, particularly from their university set and their artsy medievalists, to get carsful of supplies out to places who had lost all their shops and were yet to see any government support. In short, they were the sort of people who would make Ernest Rutherford proud.

Normally, they would have been using all their energy and passion to secure $50,000 from their local community, even if it meant stomping up to 25,000 Christchurchers and threatening them with folk songs unless they stumped up $2 each (Vicki knows a terrifying number of them). They need to be doing more important things at the moment. I think it would be amazing if we could do this for them.

For more details on the orchestra and school:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4684407/Christchurch-school-orchestra-to-play-at-Westminster-Abbey (from before the earthquake)
FEELS TERRORIST!momebie on March 9th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
I can't help until Friday, but I totally will. When I was in middle school we went to Washington DC, New York City, Quebec, and Montreal with my band, and even though my parents took me all over this country, those are places I never would have gone. I completely understand how important this can be.

I'm mostly commenting though, to see if you'd mind me linking your post here in copperbadge's Radio Free Monday. He links back to all sorts of charities and ways to help, and his flist way outstrips my own in body count and resourcefulness.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 9th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Any signal boost is brilliant. Thank you, dear!
(no subject) - drgaellon on March 10th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ravurianravurian on March 9th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
I'll signal boost when I get home from work. I accidentally sponsored more than I meant to, but what the hell - it's for a good cause...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 9th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
You're a grand soul! I owe you a fine beverage the next time I am in town!
(no subject) - ravurian on March 9th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
blueboyfeyblueboyfey on March 9th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
Perhaps you can add links for people who would like to donate for the relief effort? There are still many people without homes, proper water, and children who have lost parents who need a great deal of support. Donations can be made online. Here are the links to the Red Cross and Salvation Army:

Red Cross:

Salvation Army:
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 9th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
I've already linked across to those in a couple of other posts, this one really is all about Linwood College. After thinking about it a lot, I came to the conclusion that a whole lot of dreams are worth the same amount as the frame and footings for one new house.
(no subject) - blueboyfey on March 9th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lialwdagreat on March 9th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. I've made a donation and I'll try and drum up some more from my friends. I'm assuming it won't be a problem if I forward a link to your post onto some other potential donors?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 9th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Not at all, especially as time is very short to sort this out. Thank you!
Nennenenne on March 9th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure whom I should have talked into this besides myself, so I have send of $25 to make up for not promoting further.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
You are a very good and kind soul! Thank you!
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on March 9th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I will be donating as soon as I have funds in my sadly depleted PayPal account (I blame the disastrous combination of the Book Depository + no job for this state of affairs)!

blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Darling, I threw in some extra for you and a few other poor friends. I would not be sane enough to work without you, so it seems fair. And thank you for the excellent pimpage.
(no subject) - treacle_tartlet on March 11th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Leelaleela_cat on March 9th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this. I've forwarded the website link to a co-worker who has a lot of musician friends. She's going to distribute further.

We may not have much money, but we'll definitely send a few dollars their way.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yeah, I know that it is a terrible time, especially when so many people have been so generous with other disasters around the world (and indeed with relief efforts for this one). That's why I was so happy they had a paypal so that people could send $3-5 and still help towards the total -- lots of little bits make loads!
quatrefoilquatrefoil on March 9th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
A week's worth of coffee from me.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
*Mwah!* Thank you, dear!
being_herebeing_here on March 9th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - being_here on March 10th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - being_here on March 10th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 02:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
maya_amaya_a on March 9th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
Done. Some on behalf of each of my (music-loving) kids, and some for me. Let me figure out if I can boost the signal...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's enormously kind of you!
Emmaemmacmf on March 9th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
You = angel (obviously the cool sort, with flaming sword and so on.)
Ruricruric on March 9th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Linked here by ravurian, donation made and signal boosted too. Glad to see someone is linking it to copperbadge!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, copperbadge is a terrific force for good.
crumplehornedkiwicrumplehornedki on March 9th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
as a Kiwi I couldn't not boost the signal, the quake has affected everyone in some way and these kids not getting their trip they have worked so hard for just wouldn't be fair
amamamaamamama on March 10th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
And I got here through CHK, and will link to this post. Have donated, too. A dream fulfilled, especially when it looks like it'll all tumble down, is worth more than anything. What a great way to show them that the world cares.
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You are a force for good in the world!
Brissygirlbrissygirl on March 9th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
I'll do what I can to help boost the signal and scrap some cash together to donate. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 10th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Signal boosting will do, Brissy, I threw in a bit extra for those who have had a rough year!