SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Music and giving were the themes of The Empty Stocking concert Sunday night at the University of Scranton.

Those gathering to hear the student musicians were asked to bring an unwrapped toy, book, clothing or toiletry item to benefit local children in the community.

“This is our 16th annual Empty Stocking Fund concert We do like 30 to 35 concerts a year. This is the only one with an admission charge and in order to get in, our audience members have to bring either a new child’s toy, a new piece of child’s clothing, a toiletry item or a cash donation,” Conductor and Director of Performance Music at the University of Scranton Cheryl Boga said.

“People come out in droves for this concert every year. They support performance music here at the university but also folks who are in need, especially this time of year,” Campus Minister for Social Justice Cathy Seymour said.

“This is young people helping young people. All the young men and women involved in this program tonight, they start their finals tomorrow. This is a massive sacrifice they put it together in one week,” Boga said.

“If anything, it’s more important now, in a world where so much of us are so fortunate to have so much, it’s important for us to give back to our community,” senior performer Ashley Mullan said.

“When you’re a performer in this stage and you see our audiences still making huge effort with the masks and the distancing to still persevere and still come and support the concerts we really are grateful to them. It’s not just the University of Scranton that cares about serving our community, it’s the community overall. That we are here for each other and that we will do our best to spread the holiday spirit wherever we can,” Assistant Director of Performance Music at the University of Scranton Janelle Decker said.