By Mikaleh Offerman, Editor-in-Chief
In light of recent budget cuts to Oklahoma public schools, many school programs are facing a lack of funding.
One OBU music student has found a way to help combat a small part of this in Shawnee.
Senior piano major Brad-ley Hetherington is organizing the OBU Classroom Partners Benefit Piano Recital to raise money for the choirs at Shawnee High School and Shawnee Middle School.
“My heart behind this is to show the community that OBU cares,” Hetherington said. “All college students are busy, and so it’s hard for us to love the community like we should.”
Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. the recital will begin in Yarborough Auditorium.
“There are past and present faculty members performing with current OBU piano students,” senior vocal performance major Julie Welch said. “The majority of the recital is full of incredible piano duets, duos and ensemble pieces ranging from Mozart, Brahms, and Bizet, as well as an arrangement by an OBU alumni.”
Students, faculty, community members and anyone looking to support Shawnee schools is welcome to attend. The recital is free, but those in attendance are encouraged to give money at the doors.
“The more money I have [for my program] the more opportunities I can give to my kids,” Shawnee High School choir director and OBU alum Justin Lee said in an interview for the promotion video.
The video was filmed and edited by senior digital media arts major Jacob Jolly.
Originally, Welch and Hetherington started out wanting to raise money for a music scholarship fund.
“After further discussion and brainstorming we came to the decision of hosting a benefit recital that could impact the public music programs of Shawnee,” Welch said. “After that, Bradley took the idea by the reins and ran with it.”
Hetherington went through the process of having the event approved, contacting performers and deciding on a date.
“This is important to me because at first it was just a dream to be able to do something like this,” Hetherington said. “It has taken so many willing people to put this together and make it happen.”
Music is a large part of both Hetherington and Welch’s lives.
“I love music, and I love the positive impact it has had on my life,” Welch said. “Martin Luther once said, ‘Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world’ and I couldn’t agree more.”
It’s this love of music that has inspired them to pursue this recital.
“With this recital, we’re able to give that treasure to the people of Shawnee and that’s so exciting,” Welch said. “This recital is allowing us to use our gifts to build up the next generation of musicians and I think that’s incredible that we get to be part of something like that.”
Supporting the younger generation of musicians is important to them, but there’s one thing that stands out more to Hetherington.
“The best part is showing the love of Christ through music and connecting with a diverse group of people and bringing them together through this event,” Hetherington said.
For both Hetherington and Welch, music has been a gift to their lives. The heart of this recital is to share that gift in the best way they know how.
“Music has always been very important to us and been a huge part of our lives, so why not try to help someone else reap the benefits of what music can do in their life,” Welch said.
Directly following the recital, there will be a reception in Raley Chapel 142. If attendees miss making a donation at the recital, then there will be donation opportunities at the reception.