YOUNGSTOWN 5 schools to reap concert benefits

Sounds of the season help support Youngstown's Catholic elementary schools.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Pupils from the city's five Catholic elementary schools won't be singing for their supper, but they will be singing for their education at the third annual "Christmas in the City" concert Dec. 17.
The event could raise as much as $50,000, according to John A. McNally IV, co-chairman of the event.
More than $125,000 has been raised over the past two years with proceeds evenly divided among the schools, said Kathy Victor, principal at St. Christine School. Victor is also co-chairwoman of Christmas in the City.
The schools benefiting from the event are St. Brendan, St. Christine, St. Edward, St. Matthias and Immaculate Conception.
"Everybody knows these schools need all the help they can get," McNally said. "The $8,000 to $10,000 they get from this event is a big help."
The principal and pastor at each school determine how best to use the proceeds, he continued. Some have used it to buy computer equipment, books, audio-visual equipment and other learning aids.
Involved: The event features select pupils in grades two through eight from all five schools who sing Christmas carols in the lobby of Powers Auditorium before a concert by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
A select group of eighth-graders and a soloist from the Ohio Boys' Choir will perform with the symphony, Victor added, and local TV personalities Gina Marinelli and Rich Morgan of WKBN will narrate "The Snowman."
Last year, 2000 attended the event, she noted.
Many of the concert-goers are parents, grandparents and other family members of the 1,148 children enrolled at the schools. Several area businesses also support the event with program advertisements and ticket sales, McNally added.
"It's a nice way to get people out during the holidays to support our schools, the downtown, the Youngstown Symphony and Powers Auditorium. It's a good way to open their eyes and show them what we have," he said.
One of the reasons Christmas in the City is held at Powers Auditorium, Victor said, "is because we wanted to bring people into the city and show them that we have schools that are alive and well."
Gratitude: Working with the Youngstown Symphony has been great, Victor continued. "We are just so grateful to Maestro Isaiah Jackson. He has been marvelous -- he's so kind in talking to the children and working with them. And Patricia Syak, executive director of the Youngstown Symphony, has been a blessing.
"The financial support we receive from the concert is very important to us," she continued, "but the extra moral support and positive feedback means so much to each one of us."
The "Christmas in the City" concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at the schools and at the door immediately before the performance. Prices range from $16 to $38.