Vernon Community Music School faculty members Charity Van Gameren

Vernon Community Music School faculty members Charity Van Gameren

Winter’s Aria is music to the ears

Vernon Community Music School hopes to build a sound foundation via charity ball fundraiser.

It’s provided a solid foundation for the thousands of music students who have walked through its doors for the past three decades.

The building that houses the Vernon Community Music School, a heritage home that sits proudly at the top of East Hill in Vernon, was built by the Smith family in 1908.

But with age — and the notoriously shifting clay soil East Hill is known for —  the house is also in dire need of repair.

The costs of re-stabilizing the basement, reconstructing the verandahs, painting, roofing and so many other areas is too big for families of the school to do on their own, reports the VCMS’ board members and staff, so they are reaching out to the community for help.

And as February is the month of love, the VCMS is hoping guests will support their latest fundraising efforts by purchasing a ticket for the second annual A Winter’s Aria charity dinner and ball.

The event takes place Feb. 9 at the Prestige Inn Ballroom in Vernon.

“Upon arrival guests will hear the inviting sound of the harp while enjoying a cocktail and browsing the exciting silent auction items up for bid,” said event organizer Charity Van Gameren, VCMS vocal teacher, who also runs a musical theatre studio out of the school. “Entrance into the Prestige Inn grand ballroom will bring the beautiful sounds of  a string quartet, candlelight and flowers.

“The evening’s menu will include the savoury tastes of a prime rib buffet followed by Victor Noakes, of Antique Imports, directing a live auction allowing diners to bid on thrilling items.”

The dinner culminates in delicious desserts, which will be served during an intimate concert featuring beautiful love ballads from the The Phantom of the Opera, as well as by rock star Sting, and a virtuoso piano sonata.

The evening will then allow for guests to take a turn on the dance floor as the Legendary Lake Monsters take to the stage until midnight.

A high energy 11-piece dance band, the Legendary Lake Monsters assembled in the spring of 2012 and features Vernon area musicians with a long history in professional entertainment.

The band consists of a rock-steady rhythm section, vocals, as well as a six-piece horn section and plays a wide range of musical styles including swing, salsa, Latin, rock, R&B, top 40, blues and more.

Dancers should also expect the “conga monster” to  make an appearance.

Those supporting A Winter’s Aria will also be supporting the VCMS’ students, many of whom have gone on to pursue music as a career and as a life-long passion.

“Many students have gone on to perform nationally and internationally,” said Van Gameren. “Anyone who has had a child or grandchild walk through the doors of this grand, old house, anyone who loves music and wants to see the school be a place where families of our community can continue to learn and grow musically, this gala event is for you.”

Tickets for A Winter’s Aria are $65 each and can be purchased at the Ticket Seller box office, located in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, or order by phone at 250-549-7469, or online at

For more information or to donate to the VCMS’ Sound Foundation Campaign, visit