Last Saturday, Vermilion local, Brianne Wheat, awoke in the Christmas spirit and decided to perform impromptu Christmas carols both on Main Street and at the Vermilion Valley Lodge.
While spreading holiday cheer playing her violin downtown, she managed to raise $640 in support of the Vermilion Food Bank within just a few hours.
“I was overwhelmed with how generous people are–even in a crazy year,” said Wheat.
“Honestly, in today’s pandemic world it’s so easy to feel bad for yourself and it’s Christmas time–there is no time for ruts. Recognizing that there are so many people struggling can help you feel grateful, and bringing happiness to others is the best way to bring joy to yourself.”
Prior to the added health restrictions this Tuesday, she was outdoors with a mask and a sign asking passersby to keep the appropriate distance. Despite the different arrangement, she still managed to play and create a joyous atmosphere.
A violinist for the past 16 years, she annually visits the lodge surrounded by a ‘band’ of family and friends to perform. She originally started because her grandmother lived there and after having never stopped, she said this was just a more creative way to bring it to them.
“I have so much respect for seniors and elders. How we learn is from those who have already lived it,” said Wheat.
“The seniors are one of the most important demographics, and it’s sad that we don’t get to see them this year, so I will definitely keep playing for them if I can.”
She said even though she was outside standing in the snowbank, she didn’t make it to all of the windows and some of the residents couldn’t hear the music so she plans to go again today. She said doing anything to help others is a good way to ground yourself and can help identify the things you appreciate.
“Music has this special way of bringing people together–especially around the holidays,” said Wheat.
“Music has a bit of magic–it can remind you of better times, and what is good in today’s times. It can allow you to get groovy and put a skip in your step.”
She is currently completing her fourth year of a teaching program with the University of Alberta. During the past semester, she completed her practicum in Kitscoty, and will be doing a longer practicum next semester.
“Honestly I love children, and definitely want a future that somehow helps people,” said Wheat.
“I believe teaching is the best way to enrich the next generation.”