Hillgrove band brings holiday cheer to market
by Rachel Gray
November 17, 2013 12:04 AM | 2312 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Hillgrove High School had a holiday market Saturday afternoon with vendors, crafts and a visit from Santa. Andrew Erwin, 3, and his brother, Will, 6, the sons of the school’s band director, Patrick Erwin of Hiram, tell Santa what’s on their Christmas lists. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
Hillgrove High School had a holiday market Saturday afternoon with vendors, crafts and a visit from Santa. Andrew Erwin, 3, and his brother, Will, 6, the sons of the school’s band director, Patrick Erwin of Hiram, tell Santa what’s on their Christmas lists.
Staff/Todd Hull
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POWDER SPRINGS — Local high school band members decked the halls — or at least the cafeteria — Saturday to create a festive fundraising event, free of the long lines at the nearby shopping malls.

For much of the afternoon, Hillgrove High School, east of Lost Mountain Road between Dallas Highway and Macland Road, gave kids a chance to enjoy milk and cookies, color with elves and take pictures with Santa, as parents casually shopped for special items while sipping gourmet coffee.

The sounds of a jazz saxophone, drums, guitar and piano whimsically filled the room with a version of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” the traditional hymn which is Latin for “Glory to God in the highest.”

The seasonal music was brought to shoppers by members of the Hillgrove High School band, who were raising money for new marching uniforms.

Kyle Barber, a sophomore trumpet player, said being in the band is fun because he gets to hang out with friends and go on out-of-state field trips, as well as march on the Georgia Dome field every year.

Cristina Rosello, a sophomore French horn player, said playing music is her all-time favorite pastime, especially when feeling stressed.

“I love it so much; it is all I do,” Rosello said.

Rosello said her favorite holiday song is “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and her least favorite is “Jingle Bells,” which is a song most beginner musicians learn to play at a young age.

Jody Vane is the band parent of clarinet-playing Hillgrove 10th-grader, Zachary.

Vane helped organize the first year of the holiday market event, which she hopes will raise

$2,500 to $3,000 by selling raffle tickets, slots for the 39 vendors, and pictures with Santa.

On Saturday, 45 student band volunteers helped unload merchandise, set up displays and greet shoppers at the door, Vane said.

Supporters set up shop

The market began by advertising for local businesses to rent a booth, Vane said.

“We started with people I know and friends who have businesses,” Vane said.

In the end, Saturday’s vendors offered a wide range of options from holiday crafts and personalized items to jewelry and purses, as well as Christmas ornaments and giftwrap wreaths and birdhouses. The event even had booths with local sales representatives for Avon, Pampered Chef and Mary Kay.

Diane Elkins, who has managed Elkins Chiropractic for 23 years, located near Roswell Street in Marietta, encouraged her office to give free chair massages at the Hillgrove holiday market.

Elkins said she also decided to have a booth called “Sign of the Times” offering hand-made wooden signs, which is a new craft she just started this week.

The 3-foot long signs are decorated with vinyl applications, mostly of a family’s name either in romantic-styled lettering with flourishes or more blocked-varsity lettering for sports fans.

Elkins also adds the name of each family member in smaller type face written out over the last name.

For a blended family who might have differing last names, Elkins said she represents the “solid unit” of the newly created family by writing “Family is love.”

Elkins said she came up with the idea after hearing about the Hillgrove holiday market and wanted to contribute.

“I would rather support the community than shop at Wal-Mart,” Elkins said about encouraging shoppers to buy from local, small businesses.

Before the market, Elkins said she experimented by creating signs for her own family and friends.

“I want them to know it comes from the heart,” Elkins said. “That I take the time to do something special because they mean something to me.”

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