Cary Cooper (Submitted photo)
Cary Cooper (Submitted photo)

VAN WERT — Even in April, residents can help prepare for Christmas. No, not by Christmas shopping, but attending the first of three benefit concerts to benefit the Lighting of the Christmas Garden for Holiday Season 2014.

All proceeds will go to support the lighting of the Children’s Garden at Smiley Park — for lights, children’s gifts, and candy canes. The concerts will be hosted by the Christmas Garden Lighting Committee and will be produced through Visionary Promotions.

The performers booked for the series include Cary Cooper from Dallas, Texas who will be promoting her new CD, Zuzu’s Petals in a Thursday, April 10 appearance. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Critics have written of Cooper’s music, “

It is hard to listen to this record without having one of the tunes stick in your head for a long time… A master of the details of everyday life.”

On Saturday, Aug. 2, the brother/sister duo SaMaX from Lima, Ohio will perform in concert in an 8 p.m. show. The duo is comprised of Samantha and Max Ratzinger. Sam is a senior at Lima Bath while Max is a student at Ohio Northern University. They have performed all over northwest Ohio and this will be their third time performing in Van Wert. SaMaX has already built up a great fan base here.

Then on Friday, Sept. 5 the Kelley McRae duo from North Carolina will be performing at the Children’s Garden beginning at 8 p.m. They also will be promoting their new CD “Brighter Then The Blues.” McRae’s songs are crafted with intricate attention and the kind of deep personal reflection that few people achieve in a lifetime and fewer songwriters are able to make manifest in their words. What’s more, McRae’s talents are not limited to those of a wordsmith or musical arranger, but she is blessed with a voice perfectly suited to bring her creations to life.

Tickets for all shows are $10 and can be purchased at the show or online at This is a great way to support a community project so bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the show.