Student senate looks to fulfill mission with Operation Christmas Child concert

What’s better than giving gifts to disadvantaged children around the world? Giving gifts to disadvantaged children while simultaneously attending a concert, of course.

Student senate is partnering with Operation Christmas Child and the local band Bennett to provide entertainment for students while donating 50 percent of the concert’s profit to fill more gift boxes for children.

Student senator Colin Chesla had previously worked with the band’s violinist/vocalist Nick Roles, and the two connected again for the release of Bennet’s debut EP, “A Brand New Start.”

Bennett is a trio featuring an accordionist, a violinist and a guitarist who all contribute vocally to the group. The concert is set for Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Covenant Fine Arts Center.

The decision to combine the up-and-coming folk band’s concert with Operation Christmas Child was not the original intent.

Chesla said the projects were originally separate, but the timing of the events led senate to integrate the two and donate student senate’s profit from the concert to Operation Christmas Child.

Student Senator Jerry Grieser said that this decision really fit with senate’s vision.

“Senate isn’t just here to host concerts,” said Grieser. “We want people to be actively engaged in the college experience.”

Operation Christmas Child is just one facet of that engagement. Calvin’s partnership with the organization has been an ongoing one, with Calvin acting as a collection center for boxes this year.

Student Senator Ojone Ameadaji is in charge of Calvin’s Christmas Child program, and she agrees that the concert is a great compliment to the program. The concert entertains while the Christmas Child boxes engage the students in their community, she said.

“The two of them seemed like a good way to balance it out,” she said, referring to student senate’s mission.

Students can pick up a box in Commons annex and can even purchase small gifts from student senate to fill up the box. Gift-givers are allowed to be creative with what they put in the box though.

“Anything that brings delight to a child,” said Ameadaji.

Two other local acts open for Bennett next Monday: Carielle and the Matt Gabriel Trio. Tickets are $5 and doors open at 7 p.m.