The gift of giving

love-opera-victoria-bakerThe Rob Mathes Christmas Concert is a beloved tradition in Greenwich, delighting both children and adults every holiday season.

This year will mark the 20th annual concert and it promises to be a glittering event with two performances on Friday December 20 and Saturday December 21 at 8 p.m. at the performing Arts Center at Purchase College.

Rob Mathes will perform, along with the help of some special guests, original versions of holiday classics and Mathes favorites that everyone has come to know and love. The concert will highlight those special guests as well as performances by Rob’s world-class band made up of Will Lee on bass, Billy Masters on guitar, Shawn Pelton and Joe Bonadio on drums, Rick Knutsen on keyboards, and vocalists James “D Train” Williams, Ian Cron, Vanese Thomas and a 30 member full choir.

Tickets are $40, $50, & $75 and are available at the Performing Arts Center Box Office. Every year Rob’s concert benefits a charity and this year all proceeds will benefit Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project.

Through the Eyes of Children began as a photographic workshop in 2000. Inspired by the children of the Imbabzi Orphanage, near the Congo border, the project began very humbly. Children were given disposable cameras and began taking pictures of the world that surrounded them.

Initially the pictures were developed locally and displayed at the orphanage. But in 2001 the children were invited by the US Embassy to exhibit their work and the pictures were sold. All proceeds went towards the children’s educations. Today the children continue to photograph with donated cameras. If you wish to help them, more information can be found on the following website

The Imbabzi Orphanage is home to over 120 children. Many of their families died of disease whilst fleeing the Congo as refugees. Imbabzi, translated to English means “A mother’s love” and it is one of the few homes were children are being raised without ethnic distinction.

So often we complain about our own lives. We find lack in our abundant world and we complain about all sorts of trivialities. It isn’t until we hear about places like the Imbabzi Orphanage that we find a moment of perspective.

We lose it soon after, as we get bogged down with our day-to-day dramas, busying ourselves with things that ultimately are not all that important in the grand scheme of things. But every so often we remember that there are those, like these children in Africa, who suffer immeasurably and yet still find joy in the midst of their misery.

Maybe, we are not the ones providing them a service; maybe they are the ones who teach us a valuable life lesson. Perhaps that’s the true gift of giving.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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