Jays host ‘Songs for Angels’ benefit

Marie Loiseau January 31, 2013 0
Jays host ‘Songs for Angels’ benefit

The “Songs for Angels” concert glowed upon the Leffler Chapel stage on Sunday, Jan. 27. The concert was held to benefit those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre of Dec. 14, 2012. The amount of money raised, after considering the proceeds of concert paraphernalia and bake sale goods in addition to donations, was over $500. The Chaplain’s Office will continue accepting donations until Feb. 7.
The music featured performances by Elizabethtown College students—consisting of 20 performers and 11 performances. The audience enjoyed a wide variety of music in the forms of vocals, guitar, piano, an array of percussion and more. The performers and onlookers joined at the event’s conclusion in a candle lighting ceremony and moment of silence in which those present reflected upon the Sandy Hook victims.
The proceeds of the event will be divided in half. Part will go to Chalk Hill Elementary School, the school currently housing former Sandy Hook students and the other half will be sent north to help the police and others, collectively called the first responders, who were summoned to the scene of the massacre. Many of these individuals, having witnessed the outcome of the shooting, are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of severe anxiety. The “Songs for Angels” proceeds should assist with the financial burdens of time off work and potential therapeutic needs of these individuals.
The idea to officiate such a concert originated with first-year music therapy majors Amanda Watson, Abigail Whitmoyer and Caitlin Wilson. The homes of both Watson and Whitmoyer are near Newtown, Conn., the site of the Sandy Hook tragedy. With a case so near and dear to their hearts, the idea to hold a benefit concert formulated in the Etown students’ minds on the day of the shooting. Even the families of Watson and Whitmoyer, residing in Connecticut, drove over four hours to attend the show.
They met and discussed this objective with their professors before leaving campus for winter break. They were directed to the Chaplain’s Office where Assistant Chaplain Reverend Amy Shorner-Johnson jumped aboard the project.
Watson, Whitmoyer and Wilson collaborated with Shorner-Johnson, pulling together a list of performers, a show date and concert paraphernalia—all in a matter of weeks. They aimed to hold the concert while the crime was fresh in the minds of Etown students —before the event became just another horror story in history.
Despite their rushed timetable, these three students, along with assisting staff members, managed to compile a list of heartfelt performances. In the week leading up to the concert, Shorner-Johnson stated, “I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m hopeful. We are already removed from [the Sandy Hook massacre] by over a month. I hope this doesn’t change peoples’ wanting to help.”
Whitmoyer opened the concert with an introduction written by Shorner-Johnson. She reflected upon the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and said, “We do not pretend to have answers to such tragedies like this one. But we gather here today because we do wish to respond to it. Today, we offer what we have to give. We do not wish to add to the trauma; instead, we wish to add beauty to this world. We will offer our best, our goodness, our talent, and we will let that light shine in the darkness.” Whitmoyer continued, “We offer hope that there is still loveliness that needs to be heard, kindness that needs to be expressed and joy that needs to be experienced.” These themes of love, hope and beauty were evident throughout the concert’s many acts.
20 students took the stage to form the 11 acts different acts. “Individuals chose to perform songs that inspired them or songs that got them through something hard in their own lives,” Whitmoyer stated. Some of the pieces included Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” Vanessa Carlton’s “Home” and Jimmy Eat World’s “Hear You Me.”
For those that would still like to help the Sandy Hook first responders or Chalk Hill School, donations are being accepted through the Chaplain’s Office.

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