Slice of Life: Rocking the House for a Cause

Slice of Life(This is part of the Slice of Life project at Two Writing Teachers)

After a delay caused by winter weather and then school vacation, the Concert for Change event took place last night, with more than 25 student and staff musicians and singers (the number is a bit inflated because our finale piece was having a large group of fifth and sixth graders on stage, singing the song “Three Cups of Tea.”) playing their hearts out and in the process, raising money for the Pennies for Peace organization and books for schools in New Orleans.

The crowd size was OK, maybe about 75 people? We’ve had more in the past but then, rescheduling a concert made things difficult, particularly here in sports tournament season. But we filled up about 10 large boxes of donated books and filled a few large jars with coins.

And we played music of all kinds (including some Guns N Roses, Bob Marley and Jason Mraz). I performed two original songs — one about Hurricane Katrina and the other, about the Haiti earthquake, and I was joined by one colleague on his accordian and another on vocals.

What I liked best was that I was able to get a lot of my current and former students up on stage. Every time I looked up, there was another student on stage, doing something. I know that is how I planned it but still … it was such a great experience to see them up there, taking charge.

I had one my most dramatic former students (in a good way) come back to be master of ceremonies (he took a break from his role as the Wicked Witch in the high school production of Wizard of Oz coming up), and a few other former students were playing guitar and singing on various songs. We had others helping with the door, collecting books and coins, and doing the lights and running the video camera.

And my current students were with me, too, including one boy whose question “Can we collect books for New Orleans?” led to the entire event. He played drums and I was so proud of him. Another student sang a solo version of “I’ll be There” with me on guitar. And another group of boys just learning guitar wrote a song for the event and we played it together.

Fifth grade students came on stage to talk about Haiti (they are doing a read-a-thon), and about reading Three Cups of Tea, and they did a fantastic job speaking on a stage, with the lights, in front of a good sized audience.

I am glad it happened, and now, I am glad it is over, too. There’s a lot of planning that goes into pulling off a 90-minute benefit concert and snow didn’t help.

Peace (in the notes),

PS — Here is some video of one of the bands (with me on bass).

  1. The kids will never forget this, nor will you. Taking care of others and having fun at the same time, what a winning combiation.

  2. You must be very proud having so many students come forward to help and to perform. Somewhere along their school years (I’m hopeful there are are many somewheres) the students learned they can be part of the bigger changes – the changes in thinking, in posture within the world at large, and especially in their actions. I’m sorry that I was unable to attend the concert but I’m happy to be part of a school community that embraces change through action.

    • Thanks
      I know you were there, in spirit.
      And you are right and let’s hope we continue to inspire them to lend a hand to the world, wherever their talents are.

  3. This just reinforces my impression that you never sleep. Or eat. And that you have a secret stash of energy pills that could revolutionize the world and her teachers—if you’d only share the secret with us. Sounds like a great time. I love live music–so much more fun that DJs in my mind, although they have their place too. Congrats on a good show.

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