Making Change Through Music

I am knee-deep in planning a pretty large concert in two weeks that was spurred on first by a request from a student to conduct some community service and then by our reading of the Three Cups of Tea book.

First, a student of mine came to me to say that his church was talking about the great need — the continued great need — of schools in New Orleans for books, as many have not recovered from Hurricane Katrina. I told him that in the past, we did do a big benefit concert for Katrina and we raised a lot of money for disaster relief.

We both thought: maybe another concert?

Then, we read Three Cups of Tea, and the fifth grade at our school read it, too, and our school became involved in collecting coins for Pennies for Peace. It is a tangible way for our students to engage the book beyond the page and make a difference.

So, as we talked about Pennies for Peace and the book, the concert idea popped up again. What if we pulled together student and staff musicians and asked folks to donate a gently-used book and some coins, and then, put on a night of music?

Let it be so.

Our Concert for Change comes up in less than two weeks and I love the mix of performers — from staff colleagues, to current students (one of my students even wrote an original song for the event), to past students coming back to get involved. I am even trying to get a large group of fifth and sixth graders on stage for the grand finale, singing the song “Three Cups of Tea,”  which our music teacher has spent time teaching them all. It’s a gamble, but I think it will work, and I figure, even if it doesn’t come off completely in tune, it will be a great way to end the night.

I love how music can really galvanize a community.

Peace (in the songs),

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