The benefit concert held Monday evening in the Kelly High School gymnasium was a whole-community collaboration featuring performances by students from both Kelly and St. Denis schools. "So many of our students wanted to do something," said Fara Jones, principal at Kelly Elementary.
Admission was free, but over $800 in donations was raised.
Kelly schools' share of the proceeds will go to organizations that are helping with the relief effort, according to Jones.
"Our money will be going to St. Joseph Elementary School in New York City," said Deborah McCann, principal of St. Denis Catholic School. "We've also done some other fund raisers here at St. Denis."
St. Joseph Elementary School is located six blocks from the World Trade Center, McCann explained. "The school itself was not directly affected as far as any of the students' parents but some of their funding has been lost as a result of the economic problems due to the World Trade Center collapse."
Inspired during a recent road trip by McCartney's benefit concert, McCann decided St. Denis should do a benefit concert of their own. She soon decided it should include the whole community and invited Kelly schools to join them as well.
Administrators and music department directors from both districts put their heads together and came up with a one-hour program including patriotic selections by the St. Denis elementary and intermediate choirs, the Kelly High School band, the Kelly Show Choir, the Kelly High School Choir, and the Kelly Elementary Honor Choir.
Karen Powers, assistant Kelly Elementary principal, was also "very active in putting this together," according to Jones.
The program opened with the presentation of colors by area Boy Scouts and recognition of area volunteer fire departments, which were invited to appear in uniform.
Selections ranged from classic patriotic songs such as "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "God Bless America" to newer ones such as "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood.
In the grand finale all the groups joined together to sing "America the Beautiful" with the audience.