CALGARY -- After growing her hair for nearly half a century, Christine Bootland decided to cut it Tuesday, for a good cause.

“I’ve never had short hair,” said an apprehensive Bootland before undergoing her transformation. “Nobody has ever seen me that way, so I figured people would be willing to donate.” 

Under the bright lights at The Fringe hair salon in Bankview, Bootland hopped into a stylist's chair and said goodbye to almost five decades worth of hair, which flowed down to her ankles.

 The event was to raise money in support of scholarships for musical educations.

Normally an instructor at Medicine Hat College and the University of Lethbridge, Bootland acknowledged the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on students seeking an education in music.

“A lot of my students indicated to me they won’t be able to continue lessons next year,” she said. “It’s really important to me that these kids get the chance to continue with something they love.”

 Bootland set a goal of raising $6,000, and when the cutting began, she'd already neared the halfway point.

With the economic recovery in Alberta getting underway, Bootland stressed the importance of not allowing the arts to be overlooked, or forgotten.

“There’s something about touching another human being when you play a piece, and the emotion the kid shows when they get joy from creating something special … every kid should have that opportunity,” she said.

 Bootland’s substantial lengths of hair will be donated to the Angel Hair for Kids Salon Partner Program, which manufactures custom hair replacements for children and youth.

A GoFundMe page has also been established to raise funds for musical scholarships.