WBAL Concert for Kids: A holiday tradition

The annual WBAL Concert for Kids at Oakland Mills High School on December 5th was a night to remember- and an afternoon. For the first time this year, the high school put on both an evening and matinee performance, in order to compensate for the sell-out attendance to last year’s evening show. This new addition was made to appeal to families with smaller children, and included a shorter show with more well-known and upbeat holiday carols that younger children will know.

Local radio station WBAL 1090 AM collaborated with Oakland Mills for the ninth year on December 5th, with one hundred percent of the concert proceeds going to the WBAL Kids Campaign to benefit families with children that cannot afford to have a Christmas. The WBAL Kids Campaign mission statement: “The WBAL Radio Kids Campaign seeks to promote, foster, encourage, support and sponsor various activities for the general educational, vocational, recreational, civic and social improvement and betterment of young, economically deprived boys and girls in the WBAL Radio listening area, without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin.” (WBAL) “Since it premiered in 2007 as an opportunity for the twenty-plus student orchestra to give back to the community, the Concert for Kids has raised over $34,000 for the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign.”

Baltimore local and Oakland Mills High orchestra director Philip Hale began this project nine years ago while he was the Assistant Conductor for the Annapolis Chorale. Said Hale, “They present a really awesome Christmas program each year that I really enjoyed. Between the needs of the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign and the concert in Annapolis, it seemed a really good fit.”

The Oakland Mills community does not celebrate half-heartedly; with every stage decoration, performer, and participant putting in their time, materials, and energy for absolutely no pay or reimbursement. This concert has outdone itself every year for the past nine years. Last year alone, Oakland Mills High School donated over $10,000 to the cause, and with the addition of a second performance this year, Oakland Mills has donated over $13,000 to the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign.

With a Holiday Shoppe open at intermission of the evening concert and most of the afternoon, attendees enjoyed complimentary refreshments, purchase gift ornaments, and enjoy carols, as well as a visit from Oakland Mills’ very own Santa.

“This concert, for me, is possibly the single most meaningful event of the year. That we are able to bring together so many student, parents, community members, teachers, etc., to put in what amounts to thousands of hours to present this to raise money for the kids…I don’t think I can really put that into words,” Hale said.

Guest performers included Montel Butler, Katie Hale (wife of Philip Hale), Karen Myers Rhodovi, and Christopher Rhodovi. Also performing were the Bridgeway Community Church Choir and Band, as well as Phil Heiliger on the piano and Saul Green on drums. The entirety of the Oakland Mills High fine arts department performed, with appearances from the choir, orchestra, and dance companies.

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