Students of the late Gina Ford, an orchestra and band teacher at Chaska Middle School West, will be putting on a benefit concert in her honor, on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Chaska High School senior Nolan Litschewski and his band Distant Edge are leading the effort to put the concert together. Over 60 students playing in bands from orchestra to jazz, most of whom had Ford as a music teacher, will be playing, Litschewski said. The concert will take place at the Chaska High School auditorium from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
Local rock band, Distant Edge will be performing with the Chaska and Chanhassen high school orchestra, Chaska High School Jazz, the Chaska High School Chamber Singers and Boss Man Blü, according to Litschewski.
He had Ford for a teacher when he attended the middle school. Litschewski remembered seeing Ford conduct during Middle School West’s talent show, just last year.
“Last year, she was directing the band, at the same time she had been going through chemotherapy. I was watching her direct — she was so happy,” he said. “To see she could stay positive in such a hard time in her life, I just think that’s so amazing.”
The concert is free to attend, however attendees are encouraged to make a donation. Funds will go to Ford’s family to help pay for medical bills.
“We thought being able to give the money we raise would have such a positive impact to her family in such a hard time,” Litschewski said. “We are the students of Mrs. Ford, we are the product of her teachings.”
Principal of Chaska Middle School East Beth Holm announced in an email to parents Thursday, Dec. 13 that Ford died after a battle with ovarian cancer. The district learned of her death Wednesday evening, Holm said in the email.
"She spent her final days surrounded by her family and friends," Holm wrote. "They are very appreciative of the outpouring of support and encouragement received from so many students, staff, and parents in our school community."
Ford was part of the school community since 2000 and "has shared her love of music and performance with hundreds of students," she wrote.