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Free holiday concert, mug sales benefit Oberlin Community Services


OBERLIN — A music aficionado and a potter, Michael Roest found a way to combine both of his interests with the Empty Mugs Holiday Brass & Organ Spectacular.

The annual free holiday concert will begin 7 p.m. Monday at First Church in Oberlin. Proceeds from the sale of mugs, which are handcrafted by local potters, will go to Oberlin Community Services.

Oberlin Community Services provides food, emergency assistance and programs to those in need in Oberlin, New Russia Township and southern Lorain County, according to the website.

Last year, Empty Mugs Holiday Brass & Organ Spectacular raised $8,000 for the organization.

Roest, director of the Oberlin Brass Ensemble, started the event in 2009, modeling it after a similar fundraising concept called Empty Bowls, in which hand-crafted bowls are purchased and sold with a serving of soup. Roest said he believed that mugs would be more fitting for the holidays.

“Around the holiday season, it’s nice to have a nice, warm beverage and listen to the concert,” he said.

The Empty Mugs event features several Christmas songs performed by the musicians of Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras’ Rhythm & Brass Ensemble. The event will conclude with a sing-along.

Several hundred mugs will be available for sale at $10 apiece, each served with a complimentary beverage provided by Oberlin’s local restaurants. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Roest said the prices are reasonable because each mug is handcrafted by a local artist and served with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

“It’s a steal, really,” he said. “The main drive of the event is the sale of the mugs.”

Since Empty Mugs began in 2009, the event has raised $17,700 for Oberlin Community Services. Roest said he is hoping to raise more than $8,000 this year for the cause.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

Empty Mugs Holiday Brass & Organ Spectacular

  • 7 p.m. Monday at First Church in Oberlin, 106 North Main St.
  • The event, which features a holiday concert, is free to the public. Mugs will be for sale for $10 apiece, each served with a complimentary beverage. The proceeds benefit Oberlin Community Services.

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