Quilters support SMS music program


Last updated 7/11/2023 at 10:14am

Photo by Olivia Nieto

Quilters stayed at a bed and breakfast at Sisters Middle School. Their "rent" supports SMS music programs.

For 48 years the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show has been a source of creative and communal fun in the Sisters area. In addition to showcasing stunning works of art, the quilt show also aids in fundraising for several different causes.

One of these fundraisers is the bed and breakfast hostel for quilt show attendees, hosted at Sisters Middle School (SMS). Its goal is to fundraise money towards the music program at Sisters High School (SHS), including instrument repair, festival fees, and field trips.

However, over the past four years this event was temporarily halted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Last week was the first time in those four years that it's been open again - and it's experienced some major changes.

One of the differences was the attendee participation, which dropped by nearly half. But the new manager of the event, Julie Nikolaus, wasn't hindered by this setback.

"I've heard from (Rick) Johnson (SHS Choir Director) that this is the easiest year since 1996 when it began. My hope for next year is that we'll have a waiting list, but right now everything seems to be going pretty well," said Nikolaus.

With 12 guests residing in three upstairs classrooms, the bed and breakfast experience wasn't exactly orthodox.

Despite its unconventional setup, many of the women who stayed there described it as a fun and immersive quilting experience.

"It's just nice to be surrounded by other women who share the same passion... and we're very appreciative of all the hard work the volunteers put in to make this experience happen," said guest Joyce Larson.

Joyce and her childhood friend Jannelle Raabe are experienced quilters who were visiting the Quilt Show from Nevada. They were enjoying the multitude of quilting classes, and learning new skills.

The students who volunteered to create and keep up the B&B were appreciative of this sentiment, as they worked tirelessly to make sure all of the guests had an enjoyable experience.

"It's nice to have a part in the community...being able to compare the past to the present in terms of growing relationships and community enjoyment has been really inspirational," said student manager Kendall Guiney.

All of the Jazz Choir and Band students were new to this experience, but the attendees weren't. Many of them had stayed at the B&B in previous years, and had attended the quilt show for even longer.

"I've been coming to the Quilt Show for 12 years now, and staying at the B&B for about four," said Nancy Fischer, "I've just found it very convenient."

Many of her fellow attendees agreed.

"One of the best parts is getting to know the kids who are so wonderful...they're friendlier this year than ever. I've gotten to know many of them on a first-name basis," said Martie Melmreich.

So while the B&B is still gaining traction after its hiatus, both the students and participants are looking forward to future years.


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