With Christmas just around the corner, over 300 people from the Catholic Parish of the Lower North Shore (LNSP) have been working feverishly for months. Their goal is to give a very special Christmas present this year to the 22,000 people in the developing community of Letefoho in Timor Leste - the gift of 'HOPE'...
Volunteers from right across Sydney's Lower North Shore have pitched in their musical and creative talents to make 'HOPE' - a fundraising music album for Christmas 2015. The album is to raise much needed funds for clean water, sanitation, education and community development projects in Letefoho.
"We are so blessed to have an absolute wealth of musical talent, coupled with an incredible generosity of spirit, amongst the troupe of volunteers who have worked on 'HOPE", says LETS Chairperson, Georgina Loughnan.
"Something truly magical happens when a whole community pulls together like this to give the gift of hope to those less fortunate. I think we are all richer for the fruits of these labours."
"This is our third year producing a fundraising album for LETS," explains LNSP Musical Director, Lisa Lewis who has championed the project alongside her musical maestro husband, John Lewis.
"Last year's album raised close to $12,000 for vital development projects in Letefoho. We hope to significantly increase the fundraising total this year," adds Lisa. "We have some really wonderful professional musicians as part of our parish. They have very generously donated their time, songwriting and technical skills, alongside so many other fabulously talented amateurs. For the first time, our Christmas album features five orginal songs specifically written for the occasion - we think this just might be an Australian first!"
Lisa adds, "In what we think may be another first in Australia, children from both of the Catholic primary schools in our parish recorded songs on the album this year. In fact, all the children of St Philip Neri School pitched in to help! We are incredibly grateful to the children, principals and teachers of St Philip Neri School in Northbridge and St Thomas's School in Willoughby for their hard work in support of this very special fundraising mission".
Georgina points out "Following our East Timor Awareness Day in August this year, the children are keenly aware of just how much their efforts can do to change the lives of children their own age in Timor Leste. They were able to take a tour of some improvements made through their fundraising via a Skype call with children in Letefoho. I think that has really added to their enthusiasm for our Christmas fundraising efforts".
The HOPE Christmas album was launched at a special LNSP Christmas Concert on Sunday, 6 December at St Leonards Church in Naremburn, Sydney. Priced at $15 each, HOPE CDs are on sale at all LNSP masses from 5 December. All proceeds go to Letefoho development projects.
For enquiries regarding the HOPE Christmas album, please contact Katherine Pawson at the Catholic Parish of the Lower North Shore Office: Katherine.Pawson@lns.org.au.