Local coffee shop holds fundraising event

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A fundraiser honoring the life of a local musician is also raising money for a local youth orchestra in need of new instruments.

Owner of Stellar Beans Coffee Shop in Downtown Lake Charles, Valerie Smith, hosted the fundraiser NIK Fest on Saturday, August 13, to commemorate the life of her son Nikolaus, who lost his life in a car accident last year.

"He loved music," Smith said of her son. "I think he really believed that no matter people's differences or where they were from or socio economic status, that music was a common language of all people."

Local musicians, as well as musicians from New Orleans and Austin, TX, came to support the event starting at Stellar Beans and ending at Luna Live.

The Francis Bulber Youth Orchestra in Lake Charles will benefit from the fundraiser, Smith said.

Executive Director of FBYO Emma Guillory said purchasing instruments for the kids can be a difficult one for some parents because of cost.

"We want them to stay interested and have the instrument they need," Guillory said, which is why the fundraiser will help purchase new instruments to loan to the children.

"Over the years we found that they're [the instruments] are starting to deteriorate after kids using them for almost 19 years now," Guillory said.

With funding being cut, it's been hard for the orchestra to provide new instruments. Smith said the organization is a deserving one of the money.

"This is a gift that we hope we can give something back to the community and make something better out of the bad," Smith said.

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