Dear Community Friends: This past fall, one of our school’s music teachers approached me about starting an after-school program called Perform 4 Purpose. The idea involved a group of students staying after school to learn how to play the guitar (the non-profit group would provide a guitar for each student if their families couldn’t afford one). The group would rehearse throughout the year and then perform a concert to benefit a worthy cause.
I couldn’t turn down a good deal, and so the AJ Smith Perform 4 Purpose Guitar Club began under the direction of Mr. Brian Beaudin (who volunteered his time to stay after school every week). The project was expanded to include a Ukulele Club this spring, under the direction of Mrs. Amanda Franco (another music teacher in our school who also volunteered her time). We decided that all money raised through their concert would benefit our district’s (an employee-deduction funded) program called Project HOPE.
The group held their brunch/concert on Sunday, May 18th and raised $628.30! This was a huge donation for students in our area to make so that we can directly support the needs of families within our own community. Many thanks to the following student groups who performed: Have You Heard? from Weedsport High School; Tommy Weaver, a senior at Union Springs; Guitar and Ukulele clubs from Union Springs joined by players from Moravia and Auburn.
I would also like to personally thank Ms. Debbie Delaney who organized the event, and the American Legion of Union Springs for hosting the event. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for Mr. Jim VanArsdale who helped get our clubs up and running, and who shared his vision of county-wide music collaboration for students.
Lastly, a special thank you to the families and community members who attended the event. The room was filled with a tremendous amount of love, pride and support. For those who missed it, be sure to attend the next year. It was a fantastic event!
Burcroff is AJ Smith Elementary principal and K-12 curriculum coordinator for the Union Springs Central School District