Tuesday, September 25, 2012
By Tim Dewar
An idea that started as a chat between two classmates during a school camping trip became part of a worldwide charity event this weekend.
“We were talking about how a lot of times students will have great ideas, but no one seems to make them happen,” explained Shelby Luce. “We thought it would be cool to do a benefit concert that would show the world there is no age limit on being able to make a difference.”
Luce, who comes from a musical family, said she and Thacher School classmate Ellie Hancock decided to stage a benefit concert that would help people in the United States.
“I had seen Playing For Change’s video of “Stand By Me,” and liked it, so I did more research about the organization and learned that this year they are trying to get a program started in New York.”
Once they started planning the event, Luce and classmate Ellie Hancock learned they had two strikes against them. They are young and idealistic.
The two seniors said when they first proposed the idea of organizing a benefit concert as part of the world-wide Playing for Change Day events, it took some convincing to get people to take them seriously.
“The fact that it was our first year and our age worked against us,” Luce explained, “so we had to meet with all the department heads at the school and convince them that we were going to be serious and that we were persistent.
Their persistence and some well-placed connections resulted in booking two rising stars in the musical world. A Thacher faculty member had an in with singer/songwriter Robert Francis, who was fresh off a recent appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. One of Luce’s musician uncles, is currently working with the groups Train and Counting Crows and was able to help them land an appearance by Megan Slankard who he met while she was touring with Train.
“The biggest problem was getting the bands,” Luce added. “You have no idea how difficult that was.”
Despite the initial challenges, Luce and Hancock raised $17,500 from the 4-hour event.
“I think it went really well,” Luce explained. “It was a little overwhelming being in Libbey Bowl, which has 900 seats, but we had about 350 people attend and I think they had a great time. We raised a lot of awareness about the cause and I think we inspired some people to go out and make a difference themselves.
Luce said after the success of the event, they have been hearing interest from the underclassman that they would like to continue the event. “We would love to have it continue,” she said. “We would like to do a smaller, follow-up concert at the school this year and then do another concert next year.”
Now that everyone has an idea of just how serious the pair is, that should be easier.
“We got a bunch of emails from faculty members saying how impressed they were and how proud they were. It is such an honor to have the respect of the people who are teaching you.”
The Second annual Playing for Change Day included 330 events in 52 countries. The Playing For Change Foundation supports music and arts programs by bringing together diverse artists from throughout the world to perform popular songs with a positive message.
Visit http://playingforchange.org for more information about the Playing For Change Foundation.