On February 26th 2010 the Uptown Music Collective along with the Community Arts Center held a fundraiser show entitled Lajenès Pou Ayiti or “Youth for Haiti,” to help aid in the relief effort in Haiti after a devastating earthquake. The performers included Uptown Music Collective students, who performed a wide range of material including rock, soul and pop classics, as well as a jazz piece and a classical guitar quartet performance. They were joined by the elite choral group from the Williamsport Area High School, Les Chanteuses, under the direction of Kent Weaver. Students from Milissa Augustine’s Dance Academy also joined several of the musical groups onstage adding an exciting visual element to what was already a rich musical experience.
The idea for the benefit came from Jennie Judd, a sophomore at Williamsport Area High School, and Uptown Music Collective student Brandon Route, who is also a sophomore at Williamsport. “One Sunday afternoon Brandon emailed me and asked me if the Collective might be interested in organizing a benefit to raise money for the relief efforts in Haiti,” said Dave Brumbaugh, Executive Director of the Uptown Music Collective. “I immediately replied that it was a great idea and now you are in charge of organizing it.” Brandon, along with other UMC students Nuria Hunter and Katie Shaw, took on that leadership role and put together the exciting and varied program involving young people from all over central Pennsylvania.
There was also an art exhibit featuring young visual artists from the greater Williamsport area. Their works were displayed in the inner lobby of the CAC, with many of the works being auctioned off to support the relief efforts in Haiti. As a special treat, a small team of artists created a painting during the first part of the performance. The live work was completed by the events intermission, at which point audience members bid on the piece. Finally the music and other events were interspersed with readings from young local poets and a slide show about the situation in Haiti presented by Jennie Judd, who recently returned from helping with the relief efforts there.
The show raised $5,317.00. 100% of the proceeds from this event were sent to the relief agency Direct Relief International and designated specifically to the relief effort in Haiti. Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world. In recent years, Direct Relief has spent less than one-half of one percent of their annual support on fundraising and less than one percent on administration. That simple math is why Direct Relief’s efficiency and expense ratings are consistently among the best in the U.S.
The Uptown Music Collective is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit school of music, located at 848 West Fourth St. in Williamsport. Established in April of 2000, the Collective has developed a reputation as the premier source of music education in the area. Offering private lessons at all levels on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, as well as classes and workshops in music theory, songwriting, and styles such as the Blues, Jazz, Classical and Rock. The primary age range of the Collective is 10 – 18 yrs old, but is open to all ages and levels. Along with private lessons, the UMC offers a myriad of programs including its flagship Performance Program. This program educates students about the ins and outs of major and minor performances, including direction, production, preparation and technical aspects of the performances. The program also brings outstanding student run performances to the area, including the most recent, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond; A Tribute to Pink Floyd,” and “The Evolution of Rock: 1951-1991.” For more information about the Collective check them out at www.uptownmusic.org or give them a call at 570-329-0888.