From spring of 2003 until my graduation in May 2006, I wrote many articles for several sections of my college newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan. Here's one of my Arts & Entertainment articles.
The Sweet Relief of Music
Preview of LMU's Music Department Gulf Coast Relief concert

Mark J. Lehman
A & E Editor

Originally Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Room 120 in Burns Fine Arts Center is surprisingly well-kept, especially considering the activity it has seen in the past six days. The room belongs to Paul Holliday, the chair of the music department at LMU and the organizer of this Thursday's Gulf Coast Relief Benefit Concert, an event which he began planning one week before it was to be put on.

"We started planning it last Thursday, so that definitely has been stressful putting together a concert in less than a week," Holliday intones, with just a hint of exasperation. "That's why we're still figuring out the performers and what will be on the program and whatnot."

Though not everything is quite in place, a few things are for sure: the concert is happening at 8 p.m., the performers will all be current and past students and faculty, and there is a $10 suggested donation, from which all proceeds will benefit the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast.

"This was just a way for our department to help out," says Holliday. "It's so difficult when you're in a situation where you're not there so you can't physically help, but you still want to do something. So we just figured 'OK, we're musicians, what's something we can do to contribute to this situation.'

"We put on 30 to 40 concerts every year, so that's something we have down pat, so let's just get our students, faculty members and alumni, and hold a concert to raise money. It's a way we can use our hearts and talents to contribute."

Certainly it's an amazing feat to be able to organize something like this in such a short amount of time, but how good can the performers be for something so last minute?

"It will definitely be a top-notch performance." Holliday continues confidently and assuredly, "A lot of our faculty members are world-class musicians, and there will be a wide range of music types. Martha Masters, one of our faculty members, is a world-renowned classical guitarist who's always touring when school's out and who has come out with a few albums. We also have one of our piano professors, Dr. Wojciech Kocyan, who tours each summer and who has had a couple albums nominated for the equivalent of the Grammy awards in Europe for classical music."

For those students who are less than enthusiastic about an evening of orchestral-type music, Holliday feels that they needn't worry. "The performers are a collection of current students, past students, music faculty and alumni. It's going to be a collection of classical guitarists, vocalists, and possibly some percussionists. It's mainly going to be classical music, but there might be an a cappella singing group for those who enjoy more mainstream music."

With classical, a cappella, Spanish guitar and possibly many more styles represented, there's no doubt that the concert will be an interesting and eclectic blend guaranteed to have something for everyone. And with the amount of damage sustained by the southern states from Katrina, expect to see many more events of a similar nature.

"We (the music department) have talked with the Center for Service and Action and they've started a committee to organize several different types of programs to raise money, such as a dance and possibly a concert in Sunken Gardens." So, if you can't make it to this particular concert, keep an eye out for flyers and other announcements. "There are a lot of things in the works," Holliday said.
[via Los Angeles Loyolan:]
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