by Madeline Petersen, Grade 12
Friday May 27th is Keep the Beat, an annual fundraiser in support of War Child’s international projects that help kids affected by war. The idea is to do just that—keep the beat alive with an all-day music marathon, a tradition that has been handed down to us from years past. There are many things new to Keep the Beat this year, notably a Silent Art Auction happening from 11:50 am to 9:00 pm in the Senior School Boardroom. The auction is comprised of music-themed artwork created by Senior School art students. We encourage parents, teachers and students to browse the incredible art pieces throughout the afternoon and evening!
The day starts with a congregation in the chapel, where we will introduce Warchild’s mission and get everyone singing. Wandering musicians make their rounds from room to room during classes, allowing teachers and students alike a brief interlude to enjoy an intimate concert. At recess our merchandise goes on sale: t-shirts designed by SMUS student Jean Kim; sunglasses printed with “Keep the Beat” on the arm; CDs and USBs carrying student, alumni and staff original pieces; and an abundance of food. (For those of you who have attended Keep the Beat in years past, the answer is yes; we will be selling homemade granola bars again.) For lunch, Brown Hall will be setting up a taco bar in the quad so that everyone can enjoy the open mic in the Christine Duke amphitheater.
The KTB atmosphere is one unique to the day: a euphony of liveliness racing around the school that at the same time allows everyone to relax, dress down in our soft cotton shirts, and enjoy the music and good weather. Directly after school we invite everyone to participate in our drumming circle, a new activity this year that we hope will capture the raw vision of the day.
In the evening, we will have a final set of performances in our formal talent show. Tickets are being sold around the school leading up to the day of, can be purchased by emailing KTB.email@example.com, and can also be purchased at the door, if there are any left. Parents and teachers are encouraged to attend this, the most established and orderly of the day’s events. Students who are attending both the talent show and the dance are given a package deal, and are encouraged to wear their “Rappers and Divas” outfits to the show. Once the performances are concluded, the dance committee and D.J. Legit will ensure that the beat is kept until the end of the night.
Even with the day’s packed schedule, we never lose sight of our motivation. War Child Canada provides support to children and their families in conflict and post-conflict communities around the world, and the money we raise is sent directly to those in need. Over the past ten years, our efforts have gone towards improving healthcare, rehabilitating schools, counseling, providing shelters, vocational training and peace building.
Keep the Beat is about awareness as much as it is about raising funds, and our hope is to promote an understanding of traumas that seem so far removed from our community at the same time we make each year more fun than the last. If we can involve the whole school in Keep the Beat, then we can bring light to conflicts in countries such as Haiti, Uganda, Sierra Leone and The Sudan. By putting everything we have into this great event year after year, we can make change a reality where it really counts.