FLINT TWP. — Planning to buy a Nook e-reader as a Christmas gift? Why not do it this Sunday and support a good cause at the same time.
A percentage of designated sales including books and Nooks from a Barnes & Noble Bookfair at Genesee Valley Center from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday will help the Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra (FYSO) raise funds for a cultural exchange trip to France next spring.
FYSO members will be in the store all day for additional fundraising activities including an Instrument Playground letting the public try out various instruments. FYSO musicians will perform seasonal music and provide materials for making Christmas cards to send to the troops. A donations jar also will be provided.
Students hope to raise at least $5,000 toward the $90,000 cost of the trip, said Davin Torre, FYSO conductor. About 45 students hoping to make the trip are working on a variety of fundraisers including selling chocolate bars, poinsettia plants, Coffee Beanery coffee, raffle tickets, pizza kits and more.
FYSO students have taken this trip once every four years since 1990 and are returning a visit from French students last spring, Torre said.
While abroad, FYSO students will stay with sister youth orchestra host families in Lyon, the second largest city in France, where they will give several concert performances. They also will perform in Paris.
Besides the musical exchange, the students will be exposed to culturally enriching experiences including visiting famous tourist attractions in Paris and riding the “bullet train” that travels up to 201 mph.
“I’ve never been overseas anywhere,’’ said Riley Simmington, 15, a FYSO cello player, who is a student at Carman-Ainsworth High School. “It will give me a good perspective about what life is like in other countries.’’
The Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and other famous Paris landmarks are on the list of places they plan to visit. Katlyn Koegel, 16, also a FYSO cellist and CAHS student, said they are taking French classes hoping to improve their communication skills by the trip which is scheduled for March 29 through April 8 during spring break.
Torre said for her the best part of the trip is seeing the students interact through music though many of them cannot communicate in words because of the language barrier.
“In a short time, they will develop friendships that go beyond those cultural barriers,’’ she said.
The FYSO is a talented group of young musicians from 24 zip codes including Genesee, Lapeer, Shiawassee, Oakland and Iosco counties, Torre said.
She credited “an amazing crew of parents” with helping to set up and execute fundraisers to help pay for the France trip.
If unable to attend the Barnes & Noble event, interested donors can support the cause online for up to five days by making a purchase at BN.com/bookfairs and entering Bookfair ID 10602746 at the checkout, Torre said