|Davidson College Symphony Orchestra Plans Performances to Help Those in Need
September 29, 2009
by Emily Matras '12
The musicians of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra have been busy doing more than just tuning their instruments for this year's first concert on Wednesday evening, October 7. They've also been gearing up for their new "Concerts for a Cause" program to collect donations for a charitable organization at each of its performances.
|Tara Chamra leads the DCSO during a recent Friday afternoon outdoor performance in Richardson Plaza.
The idea for "Concerts for a Cause" was born out of orchestra director Tara Villa Chamra's recognition of student interest in community service. "I knew that many of my students are deeply involved with community service, but have felt that the student orchestra is isolated from other events on campus," said Chamra, an assistant professor of music. "We wanted a way to connect the two."
Chamra recalled that a music department marathon concert put on after Hurricane Katrina raised about $8,000 in donations, and she thought something similar could be done for orchestra concerts. Last spring, Chamra sent out an email to her students asking what organizations they would like to support.
She received numerous responses, and narrowed the list down to Building Tomorrow, Habitat for Humanity, VH1 Save the Music and the American Stroke Foundation. The October 7 concert will benefit Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, founded by Paul Newman in 1988 to provide fun camp experiences for children with serious medical conditions. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall and will feature Dvo?ák's Symphony No.8, Torke's Ash and Villa-Lobos' Choros No.7.
Violist Amanda Preston '11 agreed that "Concerts for a Cause" will make the concerts more poignant. "I am particularly proud to raise donations for Davidson's own chapter of Building Tomorrow, a group that increases awareness about education in Africa and works hard to raise money to build and sponsor a school in Uganda," said Preston. "I have been very active in the organization during my time at Davidson and cannot wait for more people to join our efforts."
Chamra and her students are excited to share the "power of music" with the community, and to use its power to benefit others. She said, "Music has always expressed something beyond words. It's organic to humans. In ancient cultures, music was a way of bringing people together not just for entertainment, but also for community. Through music, we can bring people together in support of something very important."
Preston also believes the connection between music and community is a strong one. "I think music is one of the most powerful things on earth," she said. "It can evoke such passion and emotion within you, which is similarly how involvement in a charitable organization feels. Plus, it allows the audience to enjoy some wonderful pieces by brilliant composers."
At the beginning of each concert, an orchestra student will share with the audience information about the organization being supported that evening, and stress that 100 percent of the donations will be going to that organization. If the "Concerts for a Cause" program is successful, Chamra and her students would love to continue doing it in the future. Chamra hopes that about $1,250 can be raised at each concert.
"The ‘Concerts for a Cause' program may also provide a broader audience for the students," said Chamra. "It will help people to understand that orchestra is not just about playing Beethoven, it's about sharing an experience."
The other concert dates, and organizations being supported, are:
November 19, 2009 - American Stroke Foundation
February 18, 2010 - VH1 Save the Music
April 15, 2010 - Building Tomorrow
May 5, 2010 - Habitat for Humanity
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.