Published Dec. 7, 2013

Opera Studio raises $1,800 for Topekans in need

Phillip Watson performs as Ebenezer Scrooge. Photo courtesy of Bill Blankenship/Topeka Capital-Journal
Phillip Watson performs as Ebenezer Scrooge

Washburn student organizations of all sorts are putting their talents to work for good this holiday season. The Washburn Opera Studio recently raised money for Grace Cathedral and entertained hundreds to the tune of $1,800 to support Topekans in need.

As a Washburn Student Government Association-sponsored group, the Opera Studio is required to perform community service. Studio Director Sylvia Stoner coordinated with Grace Cathedral to host a rendition of “A Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas Carol.”

Donations for admission to the one-time-only Nov. 24 performance supported the Cathedral’s service to Topekans in need, including a Saturday bagged lunch that feeds about 100 homeless people each week.

“The Opera Studio thought this would be a wonderful way to serve the community.  What better work than "A Christmas Carol" to raise funds to feed the poor?” Stoner said. “We were quite surprised about the size of the audience (nearly 400) as well as the amount raised.  It was truly wonderful!”

The students involved in the Washburn Opera Studio learned the music of their parts on their own and spent about half of their semester’s class time staging the production. Stoner said her students had the unique opportunity to work with professional actor Jill Anderson, who specializes in teaching dialects.

The production was featured in a Topeka Capital-Journal article and as a Spotted gallery on the paper's website

Congratulations to the following participants: Sylvia Stoner, director; Patricia Gibson, pianist; Joe Fitzgerald, assistant pianist; the players Brendan Boyle, Tyler Bridges, Robert Brown, Clare Bryan, Carleton Bryer, Quinton Church, Zachary Cope, Rachel Cross, Marya Feldt, Caleb Marcus, Rachel Ming, Claire Shea, Aaron Springer, Brianne Stewart, Jacob Stone, Phillip Watson and Tyler Woodworth.

Operation Fleece Navidad

The outerwear donation drive organized by senior kinesiology students netted more than 500 items for residents of the Topeka Rescue Mission. With one day left of their collection, 514 items had been collected, including more than 70 hats and more than 115 pair of gloves.

Roy Wohl, department chairman and instructor of the class that organized the drive said the response was beyond expectations.

“On behalf of our senior capstone class that organized the collection, I want to send out a big THANK YOU for your support of this project and the donations you have provided,” he said in a message to faculty and staff.

Ongoing efforts

Several donation efforts remain underway throughout finals week:

Toys for Tots – Washburn's Toys for Tots committee is collecting donations of new, unwrapped toys for children from birth to age 18 through Dec. 12. Monetary donations of cash or check also are encouraged. Toys and monetary gifts will be collected at the faculty and staff holiday party on Dec. 12 from 3-5 p.m. at the Washburn Room in the Memorial Union. Monetary gifts also can be donated at the Washburn Alumni Association After Hours event on Dec. 13. Drop a toy in any one of the following locations: Ichabod Service Center and Ichabod Shop - Memorial Union; Mulvane Art Museum; psychology - Henderson 211; School of Business - Henderson first floor; Mabee Library; UMAPS, student life, registrar, president's office and the business office - Morgan Hall; Education - Carnegie Hall; School of Nursing and Athletics - Petro Allied Health Center; Allied Health - Benton Hall; chemistry - Stoffer 2nd Floor; SRWC; Art Building; KTWU; School of Law; Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center; LLC office; Village office and Washburn Tech Building A.

Jelly drive for Harvesters – Local food banks often receive peanut butter donations, but are short on jelly. Bring jelly donations to the Office of Admissions in Morgan Hall or to the box outside the Corner Store in the Memorial Union by Dec. 13. Questions? Contact Washburn Admissions at 785-670-1030.

Donate personal care items – Washburn Embraces Recovery is collecting items such as razors, shaving cream, shampoo, bar soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes and deodorant for area homeless through the end of the semester. Drop items at Benton Hall Room 313 by Dec. 13. Questions? Contact Iris Wilkinson, We R advisor, at 785.670.1536.

Manor Care support – Washburn First Year Experience (FYE) Peer Educators are collecting donations for the residents of Manor Care. Bring crossword puzzle books, board games, puzzles, large-print playing cards, blankets, new lip balm, lotion and socks to the FYE office at Mabee Library by Dec. 13. Questions? Talk to your peer educator or anyone in the FYE office.

Shoes for Belize – Ichabods who are traveling on a service trip to Belize over winter break are determined to give orphan children the shoes they need. Bring new or gently used shoes in all sizes to International House by Dec. 20. Questions? Contact Judy McConnell-Farmer, who will lead the service trip, at 785.670.1472.