This week on “Arts News” I talked with Arya Eledath, a student at MSU’s Greenwood Laboratory School, just about to start her Senior year. Last year she and Greenwood choir director Alberta Smith began organizing a benefit concert for spring 2020—originally to raise funds for global climate-change issues. But that concert got scuttled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, this weekend—Saturday July 11 to be exact—they will hold the event online, raising funds for Convoy of Hope.
“It's a charity concert, and all proceeds go directly to Convoy of Hope Disaster Relief Fund, which also helps COVID-19. And it especially helps hungry children and hungry people who were affected by COVID-19,” said Eledath. The “Harmonies for Hope Charity Concert” will premiere on Facebook Saturday July 11 at 7:00pm. Eledath added, “it’s a compilation of several different videos of students from Missouri State, local bands, and students from Greenwood and Central High Schools.”
Initially, Arya Eledath came up with the idea in July 2019. “We were actually wanting to raise money for disaster relief for global climate change. And we had the whole venue set up.” She and Greenwood Lab School choir director Alberta Smith, who Eledath calls her “mentor,” “got everything ready… and then Coronavirus hit, and our venue got completely cancelled. So we actually still had the passion of helping others and all the performers wanted to come together.” So they revived the fundraiser idea—this time on Facebook’s online platform. “So we created a Facebook page, and created a compilation (video). And we talked to Convoy (of Hope) and they gave us a donation link directly to their website. And now on July 11, it'll be premiering on our Harmonies of Hope Facebook website.”
Eledath gave us a list of performers who have recorded the video performances that went into the compilation that will play on Facebook Saturday night. “The Kursk is a main band that's going to be performing, and they're amazing. They're grunge metal. And I heard one of their songs--they're so good. We've also got a lot of students from Greenwood Lab School who are also a part of the Springfield Little Theatre, that are going to be performing. My choir teacher, Alberta Smith, will be performing as well. And there's another group called the Central Bellatones, a completely a cappella group from Central. They're really, really amazing. We also have some MSU students; and we have a folk singer who's also gonna be performing, and a few piano instrumental pieces in there.” Again, these performances have all been pre-recorded and will be played together as a compilation video on Facebook on the 11th starting at 7:00pm.
Eledath described how to access the concert on Facebook: at https://www.facebook.com, just type “Harmonies For Hope” in the search window, and the Springfield concert should be the first event that comes up, with the “Harmonies For Hope” title superimposed over a picture of sea waves. “There will be a donation link for anybody who wants to donate,” added Eledath: https://convoy.org/harmoniesforhope.
I told Arya I was impressed by the effort and work she put in to get a fundraising event like this off the ground. “Thank you,” she said. “Yeah, it’s been really wild, especially with trying to change it from a (live) in-person concert to an online concert. The performers and everybody, we had a lot of support and they helped so much.”