8th Graders’ CD Service Project Benefits a Young Classmate
Six 8th-graders from northwest Washington combined their love of music with their school’s teachings of compassion and caring by recording and selling a three-song CD of Christian pop-rock songs with all proceeds going to a young schoolmate, a kindergartner who was hospitalized for nine weeks with necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-destroying infection which attacked his face and chest. The boy recently returned home in May 2006 to begin the long road to recovery.
Three of the students, Danny, Alex and Nicole, played together for the first time fairly spur-of-the-moment for a school assembly in the spring of 2005. Danny’s guitar teacher helped them learn a song for that first assembly. Later, their classmates Josie, Calvin and Jared decided to join them; the group has been practicing with the guitar teacher since then.
The band, now named Sunflower Circus, has performed at a couple more assemblies at their school, at the church’s middle school evening, at the 150th Jubilee of Catholic Schools Festival, and most recently, at a much larger Catholic school. A few teachers from that school heard them perform at the Jubilee and invited them to do a performance at their school, where the 3rd through 6th graders treated them as if they were rock stars--rushing the stage, running to buy CDs, and begging for autographs!
Their CD service project originally came about at the suggestion of their church’s youth minister, who is also a performing musician. When he heard the band, he was very impressed with their talent, so hung out and helped at some of their rehearsals. He suggested they record a CD so they could sell it and donate the proceeds to a charity as part of their service/volunteer hours. With the timing of the kindergartner’s injury, the band was motivated to help their schoolmate and decided to move forward with the project, recording the three-song CD on a Saturday in January 2006.
The families of the band members and an anonymous donor paid for the recording and duplicating costs and a local photography studio donated the photography for the CD cover and poster. The band ordered 1,000 CDs and began selling them for $5 each, with 100% of sales going to the kindergartner and his family to help with medical bills as they get back on their feet and as he faces extensive reconstructive surgery in the future.
As of June 2006, the band has raised over $5,400 for the family and is almost out of CDs! The kids and their families are excited to have raised so much money for a deserving cause and also to have received so many positive comments about the CD and their performances.
One of the highlights of their young musical career was going backstage and meeting the bands from the Compassion International Tour. The band members were very thoughtful and caring and took time to talk with the kids and ask about their CD project; the kids gave copies of their CDs to the bands. One of the songs on the CD, “God of Wonders,” was inspired by Caedmon’s Call, who also performs the song. They surprised Josie at the end of the concert by inviting her onstage to sing “God of Wonders” with them.
The Sunflower Circus band members graduated from 8th grade in June 2006 and plan to get together over the summer to learn new songs and even to begin writing their own music. And the young kindergartner, a boy with an amazing spirit and a deep well of faith, is back in school and on his way to recovery!
Sunflower Circus was recently honored to be chosen as one of the "Six Who Make a Difference" in the Herald’s ninth annual service competition in conjunction with Make a Difference Day, a nationwide event celebrating community participation and volunteerism. They were chosen for their volunteer efforts in raising over $5,400 for the litte boy with necrotizing fasciitis. The band's friends and family offer their congratulations for their unselfish giving and compassion to a family in need. It's never too early in life to start making a difference!
Band members: Danny - guitar; Alex - drums; Calvin - guitar & saxophone; Jared - bass; Josephine - lead vocals; Nicole - piano & harmony vocals