Benefit rock concert supports public school music education
By Jacqueline Jeon-Chapman, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Blair Drummey and Abrahim Rouabhia, two recent Shrewsbury High School graduates, organized Rock-it to the Moon, a benefit rock concert, July 1 at the Scandinavian Athletic Club [SAC].
At Rock-it to the Moon, six bands – Tuna and the Wongs, Living Relics, Skewed Visions, The Top Floor, Acetyline and Vostok 6 – performed for the love of music and to keep the Worcester Public Schools music program alive.
“We’re doing what we love to help people, and there’s nothing more rewarding than that,” said Finn Westergren, one of the members of Tuna and the Wongs.
So far, Rock-it to the Moon has raised close to $900. Drummey and Rouabhia hope to raise more before the start of the next school year, when they will give the money to the principal of Worcester’s South High.
“I spent four years in the South High band. There are some instruments that definitely need repairs – some held together by duct tape,” said Tara Shea.
The organizers chose to raise money for South High instead of their own high school because of the Worcester music program’s greater need.
“Shrewsbury just passed an override, which is going to give more money to the schools in the town. Worcester, on the other hand, doesn’t have any more money to give,” Rouabhia said. “They’re at risk of losing a lot of programs simply because they can’t afford upkeep.”
When the poor economy and budget cuts compromise school resources, schools cut programs for music and arts first.
“I just can’t see why people don’t think music is important. If people continue to think that way, we aren’t going to have any music programs left,” Drummey said. “Music is one of the oldest forms of communication. Music has touched me, and that saved me. It’s a great outlet that kids really, really need.”
Finn Westergren agreed.
“I joined chorus when I was a sophomore, and it changed my life completely,” Westergren said. “Being a musician teaches you how to live life. It teaches you how to learn. It teaches you how to interact with other people – how to appeal to the masses, but then also be creative on your own. There are a lot of good metaphors in music that can be applied to life.”
To pay for the venue for Rock-it to the Moon, Drummey and Rouabhia almost resorted to selling their clothes. Many people donated to help them pay for the venue.
“We had donations from everyone from St. Mary’s Church’s pastor to Shrewsbury Media Connections to our friends and family that helped keep operating costs from running us in the red,” Rouabhia said.
The SAC also took $100 off of the original $600 price for renting the venue. In addition, the SAC gave a $50 donation to Rock-it to the Moon after the show.
“It’s a beautiful venue. I really like the outdoor atmosphere. I’ve never actually been in an outdoor show before, so it’s really nice. It’s tons of fun. I think it’s fantastic. I’m from Worcester Public Schools, and I know what it’s like. I know they’ve always needed funding,” said The Top Floor’s guitarist, Gabe Cain.
Audience members clapped along and danced to the music.
“I’m just blown away,” said Katey Buell, an audience member. “I wish I knew these people, because then I could listen to more of their music.”
Drummey and Rouabhia also performed in the show.
“They’re very snazzy, and I think they’re the best for doing it. It definitely takes someone to step up, and put something like this on, especially out of their own pockets,” said fan Justin Cosenza. “Music is a big part of how the world should rotate around. It keeps people going. It’s kept me going. Music can save lives. It can do literally anything. It can scale any heights. It can bring people together.”
To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/rockitshrewsbury.
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