By Scott Benson
It takes a lot of guts to get in front of an audience and sing your heart out. However, Songs for a Cause helps coax those who are not used to being in the spotlight out on stage with a special incentive – it’s all for charity.
Songs for a Cause holds an annual concert, described as a “gigantic talent show” by member Dan Levine, to raise money for Blythedale Children’s Hospital. The club holds weekly meetings, in which they plan their famous song-o-grams, the concert, and even a visit to the hospital.
Before the concert, many steps are taken to prepare. The club auditions people with a variety of different song choices. These auditions, which usually last from about late February to early March, are used not to make cuts but to make sure people have a serious act as well as allowing them to get a chance to do a dress rehearsal of the show. The group also must choose and prepare where the concert will take place, usually in the high school cafeteria. The club must also prepare lights and sound for the show, which will take place in April.
Songs for a Cause also helped out with Songs for Sandy, a one-shot concert to gather donations for the Rockaway Rescue Alliance. The money was used for relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Songs for a Cause lent their efforts to the event, decorating the cafeteria for the performances. The concert was very successful, raising $1,400.
As always, another major part of Songs for a Cause are song-o-grams. Held every year on Valentine’s Day, song-o-grams, besides the spring concert, raise the most revenue for the club. In the days leading up to it, the club holds bake sales where both students and teachers can buy and send love songs, performed by members of the club and other musicians in the school, to their friends, family, teachers, and loved ones. The songs are then sung live in front of the recipient in the period and class chosen. The buyer also chooses the song and has the option to send it anonymously. Austin Kopec, president of Songs for a Cause, calls that day “one of my personal favorite days during the school year.” Austin has been a member of the club since sophomore year, during the club’s third year. Having always performed and played guitar for 9 years, he loved the idea of the club and thought that it was an excellent way for young people to unite and raise money for a worthy cause.
“It’s great that high school students have the opportunity to give back to the community and people in need.”