University of North Texas and local elementary students will make music together this Friday - for a good cause.
They hope to raise money and awareness through this concert for the Shropshire Music Foundation, a nonprofit that spreads peace through music by providing instruments and training to refugees and former child soldiers in war-torn countries, specifically Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Uganda.
The Green Tones, a UNT coed contemporary 16-member vocal ensemble, will sing several a capella numbers. They'll also join 35 students from Nelson, Rivera, Providence and Lake Dallas elementary schools and Lewisville ISD for "Lean on Me," "Peace Like a River" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," accompanied by bongos and guitar.
The event is organized by UNT Students for the Shropshire Music Foundation. President Brittney Balkcom formed the group two years ago after attending a presentation given at the College of Music by the charity's founder, Liz Shropshire.
The Los Angeles-based composer and music teacher comes to UNT every year at the invitation of flute professor Terri Sundberg, who has given concerts in Kosovo on behalf of the foundation.
Balkcom, a UNT senior, said she was "very surprised" to learn that Shropshire has been able to help more than 10,000 young people since her foundation began as a one-person operation in 1999.
"One person really can make the big changes," said Balkcom. "I wanted to help her out." BENEFIT CONCERT
• What: Shropshire Music for Peace Concert, a benefit concert for the Shropshire Music Foundation presented by University of North Texas students and local elementary school students• Where: Recital Hall in the UNT Music Building, at Avenue C and Chestnut Street• When: 6:30 p.m. Friday. A silent auction begins at 6 p.m. Reception to follow. • Details: Free. Donations will benefit the Shropshire Music Foundation. For more information, call 940-565-2791 or visit www.music.unt.edu .• On the Web: www.shropshirefoundation.org DISCUSSION
• What: "Children After War: Teaching Peace and Tolerance Through Music," a talk by Liz Shropshire, presented by the UNT Department of Psychology• When: 10 to 11 a.m. Friday• Where: Room 255 in the Eagle Student Services Center, adjacent to the UNT Union off Union Circle • Details: For more information, e-mail professor Camilo Ruggero at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Her interest led to her to create the student group, an official UNT-sponsored organization. So far, the group has raised $1,000 for the Shropshire Music Foundation through two fundraisers at Andy's Bar and an art auction.
For this concert, Balkcom contacted area choir directors and invited their students to participate. She said she received a positive response from many of the directors, who are "very excited" about participating and have been helping their students learn the music.
Local businesses, including Ravelin Bakery, Davis Purity Bakery and Hannah's Off the Square, have donated gift cards for the event's silent auction, which will begin before the concert.
Shropshire will give a brief presentation and show a short video at the Friday evening event.
She will also share her experience and insights in helping war victims through music in a discussion from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday in the Eagle Student Services Center, Room 225. The morning discussion is hosted by the UNT Department of Psychology.
"[Shropshire] goes to these countries and helps children that have no family or don't know where their families are," Balkcom said. "She gives them a reason to believe in themselves."
-Ellen Ritscher Sackett