A $25,000 surprise for some Phila. students

PHILADELPHIA - December 8, 2011

A $25,000 surprise was delivered in Bridesburg; a gift so big, it could help change the face of their music program, and the band members had not a clue.

Philadelphia Charter School students only knew that they would have some guests sitting in the audience while they performed.

Those people were from Fidelity Investments.

"You guys like surprises?" Lauren Dale of Fidelity Investments asked the students.

The students watched as their $25,000 surprise came streaming into the room; instruments of all kinds to help the band expand and improve.

"I was really shocked because my trumpet was like old and this one's really nice," said Christina Hemphill.

"I told my mom that I wanted to get a new trumpet," said Yasir Thomas. "Now she doesn't have to buy me a new one because I have one already."

Fidelity worked with the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation to pick Philadelphia for the early Christmas gift.

"Our group is just five people per group," said Sarah Rodriguez. "But now that could so much more, it could be a bigger of an ensemble, and we could be better at concerts or anything."

The surprise could not come at a better time because the students were getting ready for their big winter concert at 7pm Thursday night.

"I'm going to play my hardest," said Yasir, "and my mom is going to be happy to watch me play."

"I just know that they will be proud of my school, because they do everything they possibly can for us, and they try to do everything that we can ask for," said Sarah.

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