All the performers take their bow at the end of the show.
Granada Hills Charter High School

Granada IB students put on benefit concert for local animal shelter

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Senior Aaron Revilla stood on stage with the spotlight shining on him as he belted out his own original song that the audience was getting a sneak peek of. Students and parents clapped along, while English teacher Ms. Christina Hoppe danced in the aisle and animatedly hollered, enlivening the crowd. On Friday, Jan. 23 family and friends gathered to watch performances put on by Granada students in order to raise donations for the West Valley Animal Shelter.

With a variety of performers, the night had a casual, and easygoing air to it as student performers sat in the audience and simply took to the stage when it was their turn to perform. With shy, first-time singers to seasoned entertainers, Revilla and senior Tami Lee constructed a benefit concert that was not only for a good cause, but offered a good time as well.

As students in Granada’s three-year-old International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, Revilla and Lee put on the concert as part of their Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) project, a requirement to earn the IB Diploma. A 150 hour service project that encourages tackling community problems and fostering individual growth, the focus of Revilla and Lee’s CAS project is on animals.

In addition, to raising money for organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the two of them have been volunteering regularly for the past few months at the West Valley Animal Shelter, where they help take care of the animals in any way they can. However, Revilla and Lee decided to do more than just volunteer their time at the shelter.

“We want to help out in as many ways as we can,” Revilla said. “Tami and I are both pretty musical people, so we thought that a concert would be a great way to support the animals in the shelter while having fun and doing something we love.”

With 15 different acts, the show featured singing duets such as Revilla and Lee’s moving cover of “Say Something” by A Great Big World, and instrumental covers like senior Emily Whang’s performance on the violin of the theme song from the popular animated movie, “Howl’s Moving Castle.”  Senior Albert Eng, who is used to playing on a piano, managed to effortlessly play complicated pieces like “The Entertainer,” all on a flimsy keyboard, while senior Danielle Korzhenyak showed off her moves in her dance to “Back in the USSR,” by The Beatles.

Revilla was a charming emcee throughout the night, but he admitted that putting on the concert took a great deal of work.

“It was a lot more work than I thought it’d be; the day before the concert I ended up staying awake until 1 am, even though I had two tests the next day, getting all the instrumentals for the performers downloaded onto my phone and trying to figure out the order for all the performances,” Revilla said. “We started with a lot more performers, but many of them dropped out. It was fine though; Tami and I just did extra performances by ourselves to fill up their spaces and we found a couple of last minute performers.”

Despite any issues planning the concert, it was a success.  Rather than paying an admission fee, attendees were asked to bring donations for the animal shelter, whether they be cat food, dog toys, blankets, or simply newspapers for the animals to lie down on.

Although they may not have an exact count yet, Revilla said that, “we filled up the trunk of my dad’s van with all sorts of blankets, dog food, cat food, and animal toys—there’s a lot of stuff.”

Revilla and Lee took a big bow along with their fellow performers as the night came to a close. Carrying boxes and bags full of chew toys and salmon-flavored cat treats, they were proud of their efforts.

“Personally, I wanted the concert to just have a relaxed environment where people could show off their talents comfortably, which I think was definitely achieved,” Revilla said. “Even with any mistakes or mess-ups, the audience was really supportive and encouraging. Most importantly, we got a huge amount of donations from the concert, which was the entire point of holding the event.”

—Tessa Weinberg

Go to tinyurl.com/animal-activism-duo if you are interested in learning more about Revilla and Lee’s CAS project and ways in which you can help animals as well.

Visit http://theplaidpress.com/ to read more stories about Granada Hills Charter High School.

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