Dexter Orchestras Strike a Chord for Grieving Children


Dexter Orchestra Director Matt Deloria presents Lindsay Clark of Ele’s Place with an honorary check of $2,848. Photo by Melanie Reyes.

The Dexter Community Schools Orchestras recently played a heartwarming benefit concert for Ele's Place, raising nearly $3,000 for the center that provides support and healing to grieving children and their families.

“I've always wanted to do a benefit concert for a local charity,” says Matt Deloria, Director of Orchestras. “It's been on my musical bucket list for a while.”

The admission price is usually five dollars for the Dexter Community Schools Orchestras concerts. It just so happened that the orchestra boosters had reached full funding before March’s concert revenue. Deloria requested a freewill offering be taken up instead of the admission price. The boosters thought it was a great idea.

“My coworker Alison Campbell and I looked at a few local charity options, and Ele's Place really spoke to us because of its connection to kids the same age as our students,” says Deloria. “We also received some great feedback about them from our district social worker. After meeting with the folks at Ele's Place, we knew we had made a great choice.”

Ele's Place is a healing center for grieving children, teens, young adults, and their families. Four branch locations support families throughout Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing, and beyond.

Peer-to-peer bereavement support groups meet weekly to support each other and begin to heal after the death of a parent, sibling, or someone close to them. The connections fight the loneliness and bottled-up feelings grieving children experience, feelings they may not want to burden their parents with or other family members. At Ele’s Place, hundreds of grieving children and teens find a warm and welcoming place to meet new friends who understand how they feel while they begin to heal after the death of someone close to them.

When the hat was passed, the audience generously pitched in. A whopping $2,848 was collected for the charity.

“Ele’s Place was honored to be the recipient of this amazing benefit concert,” says Lindsay Clark, Director of Development for Ele’s Place. “You could feel the support and community connection in the auditorium the other night, and that’s just what we provide to grieving children, teens, and families at Ele’s Place: support, connection, and healing. We are wowed by the talent and generosity of the orchestras and the community.”

The orchestras’ support went beyond a mere fundraiser. Dexter students had the opportunity to get an inside look at the work of Ele’s Place.

“Once we selected Ele's Place, we met with them to go over the plan,” explains Deloria. “They sent out a rep to talk to our 7-12 grade students about their charity and how to help others working through grief. It was a heavy session for the kids, but I could see their hearts in motion. The whole idea was to use our musical talents for the good of the world.”

To learn more about Ele’s Place, visit

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