The 16th Annual “Warming Up for Christmas” Benefit Guitar Concert brought more than 600 people to the Williamson Auditorium in Fairfield Dec. 2 and raised over $12,300 for the ShineOnCass Foundation.
Orchestrated by Steve Fotter, a local musician and guitar instructor from Benton, and his wife Linda, the three-hour concert featured 80 of his students and other local talent performing rock, blues, jazz and folk Christmas music. Fotter said it was the largest fundraiser in his concert’s history, which in total has raised well over $100,000 for local charitable organizations.
Fotter calls the benefit concert a “win-win” situation for local musicians and the community. “We get to raise a lot of money for a great cause, like the ShineOnCass Foundation that supports our community, and my students get to perform before a live audience,” Fotter said. “We have tremendous talent here and the concert has become a special tradition to start the holiday season. We continue to be grateful and humbled by the people who support us.”
Cassidy Charette, who was killed October 11, 2014 as the result of a tragic hayride accident, was a Messalonskee High School top scholar and athlete, and a life-long community volunteer and youth advocate. In the past three years, her friends, family and the greater Oakland community have started multiple programs and services to honor her.
This is the second year the concert has benefitted the ShineOnCass Foundation, which was created by the Charette family to educate, inspire and empower youth to continue Cassidy’s passion for caring for others through volunteer charitable activities. The Foundation supports a number of programs created in Cassidy’s honor including youth mentoring and community service programs, and it funds an annual ShineOnCass Scholarship in memory of Cassidy Charette at Messalonskee High School.
As part of the benefit concert, the ShineOnCass Foundation organized a collection of gifts for the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderer’s Christmas Program, which provides boxes filled with warm clothing and toys for 1,700 financially disadvantaged children in Maine. Over 200 hundred gifts, including books, pajamas, hats, mittens, and toys were collected at the concert and by Messalonskee High School students, who delivered them to the program’s headquarters in Waterville. The Foundation will also gift proceeds from the concert to help purchase items needed to fill all the boxes before Christmas.
“This is how we Shine Cassidy’s Light, by giving back to our community,” said Monica Charette, Cassidy’s mother. “We know of no better way to honor Cass than to continue to support things she was passionate about—especially programs that involve helping children.”
written by Monica Charette