To kick off the Fourth of July weekend this year, the Dream Project imagined our ever-popular benefit concert within the confines of our new, digital world. Rather than cancel the event completely, we instead invited performers from previous years and a few of our own musically-inclined scholars to submit recordings.
These recordings, along with messages from Emma Violand-Sanchez, Founder and Chair of the Dream Project; Henry Mejia-Villena, former scholar, alumnus, and now board member; and Lizzette Arias, Executive Director, were stitched together to create one cohesive video. Thanks to our host, Francesco Yepez-Coello, the virtual premiere on YouTube felt almost like we were enjoying the performances in person.
Those that tuned in to watch the livestream were able to use YouTube’s chat function to applaud performers and leave messages of encouragement. Evident throughout the 30-minute “concert” was a clear theme of community. Our performers and speakers encouraged viewers to reach out to their own communities and build bridges between others during this difficult time.
Our first performer was Elena, from Elena and Los Fulanos, a bilingual latin-folk band based in Washington, D.C. She played a song titled Amor Migrante, the tragic story of an immigrant mother who comes to the U.S. in search of a better life for her and her son, but in order to do that, she has to leave her son behind.
Our second performer was Cheick Hamala-Diabate, a Grammy-nominated musician, storyteller, and choreographer originally from Mali. Cheick presented traditional songs on three different instruments, all with underlying themes of immigration and journey.
Our third performer was Haziel, aka Bonny, pianist, singer, and music producer for Los Malcriados. Haziel, one of our Dream Scholars who is studying at Virginia Commonwealth University, shared with us the powerful impact that music has on her life, a guest appearance from her adorable dog, and an original piece on the piano.
Our final performer was Ricardo, another of our Dream Scholars. Ricardo, a vocal performance student at Shenandoah University, reprised his performance of Imagine by John Lennon from last year’s concert, ending the afternoon on a note of hope and solidarity.
Thanks so much to everyone who made this event possible: our performers, speakers, donors, board members, and staff. To date, the concert has raised upwards of $3,000 and received over 100 views on Youtube. Don’t miss out! Click here to watch the performance for yourself.
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