MBCA | Ottawa Section COVID Quartet Spread Christmas Cheer

MBCA | Ottawa Section COVID Quartet Spread Christmas Cheer

Ottawa
Thursday, December 3, 2020 -
6:00pm to 6:30pm
Ottawa
Ontario

  Sometimes the simplest of ideas turn into wonderful things!

  While enjoying a cup of coffee at breakfast in early November, June and Bob Graham were chatting about the past year and that it was unfortunate the Mercedes club had not been able to hold any events this year.  June suggested it might be nice to do something to show the club members that they were appreciated in these difficult times. She came up with the idea of going around to the members’ homes to sing a few Christmas carols.

  The idea was discussed with Bob and Cathy Richer, who also thought it was a fabulous idea.

Within a couple days, we had flushed out a plan, including using the opportunity to collect donations for the Ottawa Food Bank. We coerced Joe Ferner, our Club VP, to join Bob Graham, Bob Richer and me in forming the “COVID Quartet”.

  Bob Richer, our Treasurer, approached our friends at Star Motors of Ottawa to see if they would be willing to help sponsor the event by providing a small gift we could give to our members.  Yves Laberge, Star Motors of Ottawa General Manager, agreed to help and arranged for gift bags with a Mercedes-Benz blanket, water bottle and computer accessories.  June Graham and Cathy Richer added a few Christmas candies from the Ottawa Section to the bags that we could hand out during our visits.  Joe sent out a notice to our members advising of the plan to visit as many members as possible given geographic and time constraints.  Mike used Google maps to divide the region into four zones where we could visit five to six members each night for four nights

  Bob Graham, who we have nominated as our Club Music Director, came up with a program of five carols that we would sing.  We held a short rehearsal in Bob’s workshop, where Bob presented the Mercedes-Benz music stand he crafted from a W126 grill that the two Bobs discovered while visiting The Sports Car Factory in Hallville.  Our thanks go to owner John Pritchard who donated the grill to our cause.

  We started out on December 2nd, visiting five members that evening.  Our Quartet received a very warm reception and generous donations at all our stops.  We used that session as a dress rehearsal to work out our routine before holding our grand performance at the Star Motors of Ottawa dealership on December 3rd.

  We received a warm welcome from the staff as well as some friends and family who showed up for the performance at Star Motors of Ottawa.  We used to opportunity to express our thanks to Yves Laberge and Star Motors of Ottawa for sponsoring the event.

  After Star Motors of Ottawa, we visited five more members that evening.  Again we were welcomed by the members and continued to get generous donations to the Food Bank.  In our opinion, we got better with every stop!

  We continued our tour on December 7th and 8th visiting another eleven members.  Thankfully the weather was great while we were out.  In the end we made to 21 members over the four nights.  We covered an area from Carp to Navan and everywhere in between.  Thank goodness for GPS!

  Given the year we have had, it was wonderful to reconnect with friends that we had not seen for a long time.  

  We were also able to meet some of our new members and personally welcome them to the club.

  Everyone was happy to get a bit of entertainment and be able to socialize, of course while maintaining social distancing.

  Over the four nights, our members donated $1,000 in cash and 177 food items that weighed approximately 100 pounds.  When we told Yves Laberge of Star Motors of Ottawa how great our members had been, he surprised us by generously offering to match our collection by giving us another $1,000 contribution!

  Our Section is so grateful to Star Motors of Ottawa for their support of our club, not only for this event, but throughout the years.

  On December 10th, we met at Star Motors to receive the cheque for their donation and to transfer the food donations to Bob Graham’s 1960 Mercedes 190D.  We then drove to the Ottawa Food Bank warehouse to drop off our donations.

  Representatives of the Food Bank were very grateful for our donation. They told us that for every dollar received, they could turn that into a $5 value to purchase food items, so our $2000 donation is worth $10,000 to them!  They also told us that each pound of food equated to one meal so our food donations provided 100 meals.

  Thanks to the COVID Quartet colleagues – Mike McKinnon, Joe Ferener, Bob Richer and Bob Graham for their support, commitment and wonderful singing talents in making this event possible.

  We had a great time and based on the feedback received, may have started a new Christmas tradition.

  This truly is a case of a simple idea becoming a wonderful thing!