Do you happen to recall your favorite teacher? Or perhaps your favorite teachers? I certainly do, and I suspect you do as well. For me, they were the ones who went above and beyond just sharing their knowledge and/or teaching me a skill. They seemed to be invested in me and wished for my success far beyond their classroom.

We are deeply fortunate at Christ Church to have someone who has served this role for many others. Kristi Thomas inspired scores of children and young adults during her years of teaching. She was, by all accounts, a marvelous band teacher – making sure to provide instruments to students who did not have the means to buy their own. In that and myriad other of ways, she was invested in the students’ lives beyond her classroom.

When Kristi retired, there was no doubt that she would continue to be connected to her former students. Last fall, Kristi, Kris Amundson, and I brainstormed (over a margarita or two) about what we could do as a parish to continue to help some of these remarkable students. It was then that the idea for Kids of Note was born.

The entire offering collected at last December’s Lessons and Carols service was donated to this initiative. The goal is to help support particular students, whom Kristi knows well, in order to continue to mentor and guide them. They’re not members of our parish, and it is not our goal to enlist them. Rather, our goal is to continue encouraging these kids in their musical journey while also offering any other assistance we might be able to provide.

Over the past few months, thanks to the December offering, we have helped to send some of these kids to military band concerts (the first chance for most of them to hear a professional ensemble), provided financial assistance so that they could attend their spring band trips (which they otherwise would not have been able to afford), and we are investigating sending one child to a summer music camp. On March 30, we presented one remarkable young woman, Astrid, with her own flute.

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Astrid, and her entire family, came to church to receive the flute in a small presentation made before the choir. Astrid spoke with poignant sincerity about what this means to her. A successful student, she has loved playing the flute for years and is active in her school’s band. However, her family has been unable to buy an instrument for her, so she has had to use a school flute and then turn it in at the end of each year. But, because of the gift from Kids of Note, that’s no longer the case. Now, she has a flute of her own, one that she can use to practice and play year round. Thanks to Dr. Matthew Allison, a professional flutist from St. Louis, Missouri, we were able to purchase a brand new, high-quality instrument at a reduced price.astridpresentation.jpg

Astrid’s father spoke to the choir as well. He thanked us profusely and shared the love and pride he has for his daughter. He was humbled that a group of strangers placed such confidence and support in her.

Afterwards, Astrid’s father spoke privately with Kristi and expressed his hope that we would continue our mentorship of his daughter. We assured him we would – we weren’t just buying her a flute and sending her on her way. We’ll continue to support her, and others, in ways in which we can.

Additionally, in recent weeks, we’ve introduced one of our Kids of Note students to two members of the parish who are experienced flyers. While this child is a budding musician, he hopes to become a pilot when he is an adult. We hope to make additional connections for these kids and potential mentors in areas both within and beyond music. If you would be interested in helping to support these young students in some way, please contact Kris, Kristi, or me. With your assistance and God’s blessing, perhaps this could become yet one more example of the power of music to break through barriers and unite people. I am certain these bright young students have much potential and I’m excited for a future of celebrating, encouraging, and supporting them.

Jason Abel, Director of Music