DATE: February 19, 2018
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

WinterSongs Benefit Concert to Raise Money for Victims of Domestic Violence Is Saturday, February 24; 11 Women’s Choral Groups Will Perform

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The fourth annual WinterSongs concert, featuring women’s choirs from 11 Central Virginia schools, will be held this year on Saturday, February 24, at Monticello High School. The concert, which raises money for the Shelter for Help in Emergency, begins at 5 p.m.

“We created this event to support and empower female vocalists and as a response to violence against women in our community,” said Craig Jennings, concert organizer and director of the Burley Bearettes, the young women’s ensemble from Burley Middle School.

Attendance at the highly emotional and powerful event, which has raised $10,000 to date for the Shelter, is by voluntary donation only.

The idea originated four years ago and was suggested by members of the Bearettes in the wake of local news reports of domestic violence incidents against women.

“We are so grateful to be a part of WinterSongs,” said Kat Dillon of the Shelter for Help in Emergency. “February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of abuse from a dating partner. Through WinterSongs, we are able to give teens the tools they need to build healthy and respectful relationships. The funds raised last year, for example, provided the equivalent of two-and-a-half months’ worth of shelter and safety for a woman in need,” she said.

Performers from five area high schools—Albemarle, Charlottesville, Monticello, Orange, and William Monroe—will appear, as well as ensembles from Burley, Henley, Jouett, Sutherland, and Walton middle schools, and the Charlottesville Day School.

Each group will perform a selection of songs, and the highlight of every WinterSongs concert is the finale, when more than 200 singers gather on stage. This year’s selection is Try, originally sung by Colbie Caillat. One critic, Jason Lipshut of Billboard, described the song as “empowering, providing young girls with a stronger sense of self-worth.” Markos Papadatos of Digital Journal added that it is becoming “an anthem of female empowerment due to its optimistic lyrics.”

WinterSongs is a wonderful opportunity for all of the ensembles to mix, share, support and cheer for each other,” Jennings said. “The money that is raised will increase the level of support and counseling that the Shelter can provide to victims of domestic violence in our community. And, all donations are tax deductible,” he added.

###