Students Sofia Lefort, Casey Kong, Terry Mechem and Makayla Atherton (left to right) rehearse for their upcoming “Christmas-gram” event. The students of Free State Symphonic Orchestra will be traveling throughout Eudora and Lawrence performing popular Christmas music.

Judy Erpelding wants to bring the holiday spirit to people who could really use music this Christmas season.

The Eudora resident and Free State High School director of orchestras has arranged for her symphonic orchestra students to deliver “Christmas-grams” throughout Eudora and Lawrence. For a small donation, a string ensemble will visit someone of your choosing. 

Erpelding said her community is both Eudora and Lawrence.

“I wanted to include both. I live in Eudora, my three kids go to Eudora schools and my husband teaches at Eudora High School,” she said.

The event is a chance to show the community all the effort the students have put into their craft, Erpelding said. 

This is the first year the program is being offered, and donations will go toward the orchestra’s trip to a contest in Chicago in the spring, Erpelding said.

The “Christmas-grams” will be delivered Dec. 3 with top hits like “Christmas Time is Here,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” among the playlist options.

Students also shared their excitement for the chance to play.

Makayla Atherton, who plays the cello, said it’s fun to play for people she doesn’t usually get to play for.

“It’s fun to play in a small ensemble, especially for friends,” Atherton said. “And I like Christmas music. We really get to focus on the musicality.”

Terry Mechem, who has played viola for four years, said the event is different from playing concerts.

“Concerts are good, but it’s fun to play for people who are listening because they really want to, and that’s what this is,” Mechem said.

The cost of a Christmas-gram ranges from $30-$35. Registration ends Monday and can be found here.

Reach reporter Gavin Walker at

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