Choirs sing to help All Chicago


Photo Editor

Four of Columbia’s choral groups performed, including the pop orchestra, gospel repertory ensemble, gospel choir and jazz pop choir. The concert concluded with a collaborative performance from all groups.

By Assistant Campus Editor

More than $5,000 was raised for All Chicago, a nonprofit organization helping the homeless, at Columbia’s Hope, Help & Humanity benefit concert Dec. 2 at Jones College Prep High School, 700 S. State St.

Columbia’s pop orchestra, gospel repertory ensemble, gospel choir and jazz pop choir performed at the event, with a collaborative performance ending the show including all of  the four groups.

Walter Owens, an adjunct faculty member in the Music Department, said he was initially nervous about the turnout because it was one of the college’s first student concerts asking for donations at the door. 

“[The turnout] was very encouraging,” Owens said. “This is the first time we ever asked for people to pay at any of our concerts, so we weren’t sure how people would feel about this.”

Student attendees were charged a $5 entry fee while other guests paid $10, Owens said. Guests seemed willing to donate because proceeds were going to a charity, he added.

The Business & Entrepreneurship Department’s “Event Management: Practicum” class conceived the idea for a benefit concert at Jones College Prep’s auditorium in September when the class began, Owens said.

“Last year, [gospel choir] was preparing for the graduation commencement ceremony, and we happened to be using Jones for the first time for dress rehearsal,” Owens said. “We thought it would be wonderful to have an event in that space.” 

Owens said the class took the idea and came up with the concept of doing a benefit concert featuring all of the college’s choral groups. 

“The class would get the benefit of organizing it, and then we would perform in that space,” Owens said. “[President Kwang-Wu Kim] is encouraging all disciplines to collaborate on behalf of the school and community. That was kind of a backdrop as well.”

The Television Department’s Frequency TV also got involved by creating a film package detailing the event and following the class throughout the semester. 

Alex Hughes, a senior cinema art + science major and the executive producer for Frequency TV, said he and a crew of several others have followed the production since its inception.

Steve Hadley, an adjunct faculty member in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department who teaches the “Event Management: Practicum” class, had the idea to help out and benefit a charity in Chicago for the concert, so the class, the choirs and Frequency TV worked together to make the event happen, Hughes said. 

“It’s about helping people, bringing the community together for the celebration of life and just a celebration of everything you have,” Hughes said.

The class had three charities to choose from for the concert’s proceeds, and it was a unanimous vote to choose All Chicago, Owens said. All Chicago is an organization that provides solutions ensuring the sustainability of homes, according to the organization’s website. 

Quinn Hyland, a sophomore music major and member of the gospel choir, said choosing one of the three charities was a quick decision for the class. They took the idea of a benefit to help the homeless and immediately went to work, she said.

“Any performance I’ve ever had has been shaky in the rehearsals before,” Hyland said. “But when [the gospel choir] went on stage, it all just fit together.”

The performers were pleased with how the concert went overall and were happy to help a notable charity in the area, Hyland said.

“We have the most talented and gifted students in the world [who really] pulled this concert off,” Owens said.