St. Thomas youth choir to raise money for repairs to cemetery

A St. Thomas youth choir is planning a concert to raise money for repairs to the St. Thomas cemetery, which experienced vandalism on July 13.

A benefit concert is planned for Sunday, July 23

Damage caused by vandals who toppled 25 headstones at St. Thomas Cemetery on July 13 (Karyn Harris-Paschink/St. Thomas Youth Choir)

A group of teenagers plans to use their musical talents to help the St. Thomas cemetery recover from a recent act of vandalism.

Police are still looking for the person or persons responsible for toppling 25 headstones and a cement bench at the St. Thomas Cemetery on West Avenue. Investigators say the vandalism occurred on the afternoon of July 13.

Damage was estimated at $1,500. Police said it appeared none of the headstones was broken or cracked but heavy machinery and workers will be required to put them back in place.

The St. Thomas Youth Choir was on a tour of Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City late last week when it heard the news and decided to take action.

"The kids were all pretty sad, because we have a connection to the graveyard in that we rehearse at the church right across the street -- St. Andrew's United Church," said the choir's director, Rob Cairns.

He said the choir members talked about what might be done to help the cemetery and came up with the idea of a fundraising concert.

The event will be held this Sunday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at the Old St. Thomas Church, located at  55 Walnut Street.

Cairns said there will be no charge for admission to the hour-long concert, but they are asking for donations and hope to raise as much money as possible. 

"And 100 per cent of what is raised that night is going to be going towards helping the cemetery," he said.

The youth choir consists of singers from 12 to their early 20s, and Cairns is proud of their initiative.

"I'm really sorry to see that this type of vandalism happens. But it's nice to see our kids stepping up and trying to do something to help."