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Madrid-Waddington raffle will raise money for new sound equipment

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MADRID – Judy T. and Larry E. Jones of Waddington have volunteered on behalf of Madrid-Waddington Central School since their daughters, Stefanie A. Jones and Michelle M. Keel, attended school there in the 1990s.

But a recent Christmas gift from their niece, Kathleen Tiernan, made the couple redirect their volunteerism to the school’s music program.

“I got a knock on the door and in comes this beautiful chorus, singing carols,” Mrs. Jones said. “Of all things about that Christmas, the first thing I can remember is my niece and this beautiful group singing carols. I forgot what presents I opened first, but I am never going to forget that.”

When their niece told them the chorus needed new portable sound equipment to use for their caroling, Mr. and Mrs. Jones decided to help them raise money to buy it. They purchased a grill from Lowes to raffle.

“I was so moved by it, I said, ‘I have to help these kids,’” Mrs. Jones said.

Nichelle M. Burnett, music director, said she was humbled by the Joneses’ contribution. She said because of recent budget cuts the school has had to rely on more community donations to maintain its current program.

“Our elementary position was split to half time a couple of years ago, and we are starting to see the effects of that in the middle school,” Ms. Burnett said. “Students are not as prepared. We’re hoping to get that back whenever things get better. You have to hope for it.”

Ms. Burnett said the music program is vital to students’ education.

“One of the main things is that they learn about sharing talent and sharing music and uplifting other people,” she said. “Their favorite thing is to go out and do caroling. We go to Ogdensburg to sing to some of the group homes there and it’s the highlight of their year for some of them.”

Mrs. Jones said the raffle aims to raise $500 for the sound equipment.

“We cannot lose our music program,” Mrs. Jones said. “We need as much help as we can get. It’s not going to come from taxes. We’re going to have to start reaching out to the community.”

Ms. Burnett said she hopes the district will one day be able to raise enough money to purchase an acoustic piano.

“We’ve been using smaller, electric keyboards, but it’s just not the same,” Ms. Burnett said. “We have such a strong music program. And we certainly have the support from the people in the district. There is no doubt about that. We just need to get the word out.”

To purchase raffle tickets, contact Ms. Jones at 344-4404. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. The winner will be drawn April 12.

The school is also accepting direct donations, Ms. Burnett said.

Checks can be made payable to “MWCS Chorus” and dropped off at the school’s main office.

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