With Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, one of Brandon’s most unique gifts is set for another year.
Send A Serenade is hosted by the music department at École Neelin secondaire High School. For $40, you can hire a gaggle of nine choral students to bring a chocolate from Lindt, a card and an acapella rendition of the Train song "Valentine" to the person you want to ask to be yours.
The first year for the event was 1997 and it has only missed three years since, making this the 20th edition of Send A Serenade.
Choral director Carolyn Gwyer, who helped come up with the idea in the 1990s, said that she’s seen all sorts of reactions from people receiving their gift.
Some people try to ignore the students, but as trained singers they can just get louder until they are acknowledged. Some people try to run away, but high school students have a lot of energy. Others have started to cry or got beet-red with embarrassment.
The service was used to deliver three successful marriage proposals. Gwyer said that she’s open to more people doing that, but recommends you make sure that your target will say yes first.
"It’s probably a very public situation and there’s all these teenagers staring at them," she said. One year, they helped a man who had been involved in a car accident a few months beforehand leave his house for the first time propose to his significant other.
While Gwyer drives them from place to place, her students are mostly in charge of their performances.
"That independence and self-initiative is like no other," Gwyer said. "In a normal choir situation, I’m standing there and I’m flapping my arms and away they go. In this situation, it’s all them. Their audience is technically one person and they know this is a gift that comes with a whole lot of sentiment behind it."
Funds raised during the event (minus the cost of supplies) go towards Neelin’s choir program.
"We rely on a few fundraisers to help offset the cost of various activities we do throughout the year for singers," Gwyer said.
Gwyer said that bookings may still be available on Valentine’s Day but recommended that arrangements be made by end of day today. Slots are arranged in 15-minute intervals.
Bookings can be made by emailing email@example.com or calling the school’s music office at 204-729-3189.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark