Music teachers Alan and Jenni Holmes in a photo posted to the “Tuning Out Cancer” campaign page at gofundme.com.

Music students rally to raise funds for Surrey teacher and wife hit by cancer

Johnston Heights Secondary musicians launch online campaign to help Alan and Jenni Holmes

Students of a popular music teacher at a Surrey school are “tuning out cancer” to help him and his wife meet the financial burden of fighting the disease.

A student-led online fundraising campaign was launched July 10 for Johnston Heights Secondary’s music director, Alan Holmes, and his wife, Jenni, who in March was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a type of soft-tissue sarcoma.

The couple, married for 34 years, accompanied dozens of choir singers on a trip to Vienna, Austria, last summer. Now some of them are helping the Holmes, both of whom have helped teach students the joy of singing and playing music.

The high school’s music program involves some 500 students.

“Jenni, whom Alan met in college, is an accomplished soprano with many years of teaching and playing experience,” former student Rylan Ferrer wrote in an email to the Now-Leader.

“In 2008, while teaching some band classes, Alan began the choral program which bloomed in three years to more than 300 students. In 2018, Alan and Jenni led 80 choir members on a European tour, garnering first prize at an international youth festival in Vienna. He, with the help of Jenni, has run the program for 10 years, deeply affecting the lives of the many students they have taught.”

When Jenni was diagnosed with cancer, Alan took a leave of absence from teaching to care for his wife.

“Both he and Jenni have put their heart and soul into the choir and band, making it a safe place to many students,” wrote Ferrer, who graduated from the school last month.

“Now, it is our turn to return the favour to the dedicated pair who have taught over 4,000 students and rooted the love of music into each of their lives. Alan has inspired me as well as hundreds of other people who have been through his program. And seeing him and his wife back on their feet would mean the world to us.”

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO)

A Youtube video shared to the Jenni Holmes – Tuning Out Cancer campaign page at gofundme.com includes appeals and stories from several students, along with a message from the couple.

The immediate fundraising goal is $75,000, but campaign organizers hope to eventually raise $175,000, “a portion of what the full cost may total to,” according to a post on the website. “All proceeds are going solely into treatment.”

As of Monday morning (July 16), more than $27,800 had been raised for the cause, which involves treatments “outside the prescribed cancer agency protocol,” Alan Holmes says in the video posted to the website.

“Because of that, we are in a financial situation where we need to ask for money, for that treatment,” he said.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Sleepy Gonzales sounds off as ‘Play Surrey’ contest winners

Fleetwood-based band got serious as a foursome just last year

Now-Leader wins three national awards

Best Feature Series (First), Best Headline Writing (First) and Best Local Editorial (Second)

Democracy Direct invites MP Hogg to speak July 17

Electoral coalition to confirm candidates next week

Builder of new Pattullo Bridge to be chosen after three-month ‘RFQ’ period

Local residents are ‘one step closer to a safer crossing,’ according to government release Monday

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Coco the cat survives horrific house fire wrapped in a blanket

Found in the laundry hours after Chilliwack firefighters douse blaze that destroyed five structures

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Most Read