Christine Christmas concert is set for Dec. 8
Although the death of Christine Wilson will soon reach its 10th anniversary, her name is still alive and well.
The ninth annual Christine's Christmas concert is slated for Dec. 8 in the Capitol Theatre in the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. Proceeds will benefit the Nationwide Children's Hospital Burn Center.
The concert is named after Dublin resident Christine Wilson, one of five young people who died in a 2003 house fire near the Ohio State University campus.
Neighbor Mark King started the Christmas concert eight years ago to honor Wilson and raise money in her name.
Since its beginning, the concert has moved venues and added performers.
Evolving the concert for returning guests while keeping it simple has been a focus for King.
"I have to be really careful to maintain the simplicity," he said.
"A tragedy spoke to people so powerfully when I started it ... I want to make sure they walk away feeling the way they had when they saw it first," he said.
The concert will include the Dublin Jerome High School A Cappella Choir, the CMC Conservatory Chamber Orchestra and vocalist Willie Grove.
Other guests are trumpet player Ben Huntoon, Nathan Kufchak, dummers Kyle Fox and Ron Perks and vocalist Denise Alexander.
"The group of musicians I have is incredible," King said.
"This started off as me as a soloist and bringing in these other people has been great from a musician's point of view," he said.
"I get a tremendous amount of joy working with these people. They get involved with something that benefits the community and it's incredible to see the passion they have for it."
Traditional Christmas songs are on the playlist for the evening.
"It's pretty traditional Christmas songs done in a way you won't hear or experience anywhere else," King said.
A story about Wilson will also be woven into the concert.
"What I'm doing on that night is not primarily raising money, I'm telling a story," King said.
"I love the story. It's a story about a baby that was born under the most humble of circumstances and changed the world.
"This story is told in the context of the friendship I had with a person who lived in our little city of Dublin, whose life changed mine," King said. "The parallels to me are very striking."
Since the creation of the Christine Wilson Foundation and Christine's Christmas Concert, money has been raised for central Ohio organizations benefiting children and scholarships.
"The other part is understanding that bad things happen," King said.
"You'd love to be able to take it back," he said, "but there are a couple ways things can go.
"You can let it drain you and sink you, or you can choose to turn it into something that is good.
"I believe that's what the Dublin community has done," King said. "It's really the Dublin community that has risen to the occasion.
"They come and celebrate this event with me. The whole community is involved and that shows what a community can do as a group to rise out of a tragic situation."
Tickets for Christine's Christmas Concert are $75 and $25 for students. Tickets include appetizers and a dessert buffet after the show.
Appetizers and a silent auction will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the music set to follow at 7:30 p.m. After the show, the silent auction will continue, along with the dessert buffet.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by contacting Courtney Cahill at 614-355-0818.