By Audrey Kim, Staff Reporter
“And I can’t help falling in love with you,” student Thomas Murphy sang, looking into the eyes of his girlfriend across the room. The audience burst into applause when he finished the classic Elvis song, fellow students cheering and whistling.
The senior had performed in a joint benefit concert launched by the two Conestoga clubs Compositions for a Cause and HeforShe. Compositions for a Cause organizes benefit concerts and sends the money raised by admission and food to various charities. Meanwhile, HeforShe aims for gender equality, modeling themselves after the United Nations campaign. This concert, which took place at the Tredyffrin Library on Wednesday, February 15, combined the two. Proceeds, which were over $200, were sent to HeforShe organization.
“I really wanted to combine my passion for music and at the same time give back to the community,” said Betty Ben Dor, the co-founder of both Compositions for a Cause and HeforShe. “There are a lot of different (charity) clubs at Conestoga, but none of them seemed to emphasize on music.”
When co-founders Betty Ben Dor and Jahnavi Rao founded Compositions for a Cause two years ago, they hadn’t expected the rapid growth to its current state today. Although initially Ben Dor and Rao had to set up the room, decorations, food, and manage performances, they now have a crew of students to help out instead. They reached out to members of the music department, which include orchestra, band, and chorus.
Featuring a mix of both instrumental and vocal music, the concert had 27 performances, the most that has ever played in their benefit concerts so far.
“(The concerts) are always really interesting because you get a big variety of performances,” said junior Max Mooney, the music manager of Compositions for a Cause. Mooney both sang and brought performers in at Wednesday’s concert. “It’s a really good experience for (the performers) as well. Although the concerts started off as just an event, now we have members that consistently participate since we’re an official club.”
Set in a circular room, volunteers adorned the room with Valentine’s Day decorations (the holiday was the day prior). Both students and parents came to watch their peers and children perform.
“I was surprised by the atmosphere and the number of people who came on a Wednesday school night,” said Jennifer Lee, the other co-founder of HeforShe with Ben Dor. A member of the school orchestra, Lee encouraged more instrumental acts and underclassmen to perform, who she said “can continue the concerts after (Betty Ben Dor, Jahnavi Rao, and I) graduate.”
“Everyone was just so supportive of each other,” Lee said. “A lot of students came to support their friends and supported others who they didn’t even know. It was a great atmosphere, and everyone left feeling really satisfied.”
Audrey Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.