Music with a Mission concert comes to Hiram College

By Rachel Hagenbaugh | Staff Writer Published:

Since the beginning of the school year, four Crestwood High School athletes have been juggling school and sports with a project to promote local bands and businesses and to raise money for the Mantua Center Christian Church.

The project is part of the junior-senior seminar, a service-based learning class. So far, the students have hosted four open-mic nights and raised more than $800 with the help of the Rotary Club of Mantua. The students' big day will come Saturday when they will present the Music with a Mission Madness concert from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. that will include eight bands, food and raffles in the Hayden Auditorium at Hiram College. The students' goal is to sell out of the 500 tickets they ordered.

The four students, Michael Skocdopole, Matt Monroe, Kristen Jackson and Jenna Head, agreed that this project has been more difficult than they anticipated.

"There's so many details," Jackson said. "It's a lot more stressful than I imagined."

The students said that they had to learn how to communicate with each other because some of the details, such setting up equipment, timing the bands' performances and handing out tickets, were easy to forget.

For the concert, the students had to meet with the auditorium's director multiple times to establish a contract, assemble the bands that were going to play, work with local businesses to gather donations and order tickets, T-shirts and fliers.

"A lot of our teachers are really flexible and understand that this is important to us," said Skocdopole, who is also a guitarist for Traverse Town, an alternative-rock band performing at the concert.

Traverse Town has been together for about a year and played at JB's Concert Club in Kent and Peabody's Concert Club in Cleveland, but they've never performed for crowd as large as the one they expect for this concert.

"It's going to be hard because we have to work the concert and be ready to perform," said Head, who will also be singing during the concert. She said she's used to performing in front of a large crowd, but is still a little nervous.

Their teacher, Christine Spencer, encouraged the students to focus on their music and reassured all of them that everything would work out. The students praised Spencer for her help with the project, but she insisted the students are behind the whole thing.

"We talk about stuff, but they're really the hands and feet that get it done," she said. "I've been impressed with their vision and organization."

The junior-senior seminar will be wrapping up its fifth year in June and Spencer said she is always surprised by what the students accomplish.

"It's like watching a dream grow," she said. "They start out with an idea and then it just gets bigger and bigger. The students as young people don't let obstacles get in their way."

Presale tickets are $5 and available at Crestwood High School from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Friday, or at Hiram Dining Hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets at the door are $7

For more information, contact music_with_a_mission@yahoo.com.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123 or rhagenbaugh@recordpub.com

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