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2014 Holiday Banquet & Pageant

A familiar tradition was held last month. The AK Child & Family Holiday Banquet and Pageant. Our Spiritual Life Department organizes the event each year in which our students may invite their families to watch the performances by their peers and enjoy a traditional holiday meal. Thank you to South Anchorage Dental Center for the generous donation towards the banquet. This year there were 25 performances on the stage and we had special guests in attendance. One of our favorite bloggers wrote about his experience.



The Holiday Banquet
     -by a kid at Gaylor cottage

I was excited for the banquet that happened on December 18th for a while. I had been practicing my act for about a week before the banquet, maybe even longer. I was playing Deck the Halls on the piano. So, because of my practice, I thought that I was ready.

When the day arrived, I practiced one more time and then had a surprise visit from the ASO (Anchorage Symphony Orchestra). I will tell you about it.

Angie picked me up (not literally) and brought me to the gym, where I saw some people from ASO that I recognized. I also saw and heard music, and I was surprised to see some musicians playing music up on the stage. They were part of the people who came from ASO. I thought the person who was playing the trumpet looked familiar, and when I looked at the program sheet I saw the his name was Linn Weeda, the person who conducted the youth symphony orchestra, one of the symphonies I have been to.


Chugach Brass performers, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra staff and AK Child & Family Board Directors and CEO.


The other people from ASO (the people I recognized) had a present with them. I opened it and was surprised and happy to see real ties and handkerchiefs in the box. Before, I had used a not so real tie or no tie at all, and one of my peers had made me a fake handkerchief using Kleenex, so I was glad for the real ties and handkerchiefs.


AK Child & Family Board Chair Tim Astle tying the tie.


I was wearing my blue button down shirt with jeans, and one of the ties and handkerchiefs were blue, so I tried to put them on. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to fold a handkerchief or tie a tie (one of my past roommates had tried to teach me, but I forgot the minute later. I don’t get ties, or how to tie one. He was the same person that had made my fake handkerchiefs for me, by the way.), But one of the people before me knew how to, and he did it for me. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to fold a handkerchief, so I just tried to fold it as best as I can.


The tie and pocket scarf.


Soon, everyone arrived, and we started eating. At first, I sat with the people from ASO, but then I moved back to where my cottage was. The musicians played right up to the moment when we started eating, and I had hoped to hear them still playing, because it would have been nice to have some nice dinner music. But then the pageant started.

I had thought I was second on the list to who was doing something, but to my surprise I was first on the list (Kelli told me later that the reason they did that was because they thought I was experienced enough. I was honored.) It was the first time I’d been first while playing an instrument in something like that. I’d never been first in my recitals and stuff, so I probably wasn’t too prepared for the pressure.

I admit I made some mistakes while playing, but that is probably because I wasn’t used to so much pressure. I played Deck the Halls twice and then went back to my seat while the audience clapped. I received a lot of fist bumps from my peers right as I sat down. Then I continued eating.


Barry Yabyabin prepared a scrumptious and traditional holiday meal for our students and guests.


I would just like to say, the food was good. I ate firsts and then had seconds and drank a fruit punch-like drink with ice cream in it and Sprite in it too. It was good. I watched the other acts and then went up to do my second act: a skit. It was called “Gold”. Mostly all I did was stand there on the stage listening to two girls talking about anti-bullying and the singing. When they started a rap part I ripped up my paper and threw it behind me. My paper said “Loser”.

All my acts were done, so I just sat at my seat having a fun time and watching the other acts. I enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Thank you ASO again for helping and supporting us in our pageant. I thank you for the present I received and for the musicians that played at the beginning. Thank you.

From a happy kid from Gaylor cottage



Guests at the banquet were treated to a truly perfect holiday gift in the form of music from the Chugach Brass courtesy of our dear friends at the Alaska Symphony Orchestra. Thank you to Alana, Sherri, Jennifer and Darleen for visiting our performers and sharing the joy of holiday music with our youth and their families. The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra also shared a special story that night. The Anchorage Symphony Board and Staff had passed around an envelope during a board meeting and agreed to give to AK Child & Family in lieu of buying gifts for each other for Christmas. In their short lives, it is easy for the young people we serve to form an attitude of, “it’s me against the world,” but when faced with the generosity from people they don’t even know, they learn that they are not alone. We couldn’t agree more.