For outsiders, the name Alex Mansour probably doesn’t resonate. But throughout the Chaminade community, the senior is commonly viewed as the epitome of who a Chaminade student should strive to be.
He has not played an organized sport at Chaminade (middle school or high school, for that matter) and yet still, he is the most recognizable person on campus, not just for being an extremely talented musician, but also for his genuine goodwill towards anyone who might cross his path.
But for Mansour, music and his sturdy moral compass are closely intertwined, he uses his passion for music (particularly his mastery of the piano and cello) to, if nothing else, make others smile. And he sure has done a fantastic job at that.
Shortly after the Haiti earthquake, Mansour and his younger sister Ronnie created the Young Artists Alliance, an organization that aims to mitigate any sort of social injustices, natural disasters, and other like misfortunes.
The duo has hosted concerts every year since, targeting a different charity each time that ultimately receives all of the concert’s proceeds. Thus far, YAA has been an outstanding success, especially following its expansion into a club at Chaminade which has allowed the Mansours to bring a vast array of talent into the fold.
But for Mansour, this was all very natural- he felt as though he wasn’t going out of his way to help these different charities, he was merely expanding his horizons.
“Playing music for people who enjoy it has been extremely rewarding for me,” said a jovial Mansour. It’s very special hearing the faint murmur of people humming along to songs that they recognize. That means more than money… seeing how a concert affects someone is very special. I think they [the beneficiaries of the YAA concerts] appreciate kids helping kids.”
If money comes as a byproduct of his service, then so be it, but the smiles that he has become so accustomed to seeing in the audience cannot be quantified. Their effect is certainly profound on him as he continues to play for others on a regular basis, it soothes him just as much as it soothes others.
Unlike most people who do community service just for the sake of doing so or because their school requires it, Mansour thrives in his service, it brings him great joy to spread happiness. It seems as though he needs to do community service because it is his niche.
In that way, he is very unique. He does what he loves on a regular basis and continually shares his art with others. The term ‘community service’ actually doesn’t encompass what Mansour does at all. To him, his impromptu music sessions as well as his concerts are purely recreational, something special in itself.
It has long been thought that music and other forms of art serve to increase empathy and compassion in us and if that truly is the case, then Alex Mansour is the poster boy for such a theory.
When asked how music molded him into the person that he is today, he explained, “Music has molded my work ethic immensely… I look for things that make it more than just sound and more so an expression of emotion. Not a day goes by where I’m not doing something musical.”
Passion and drive like Mansour’s is highly uncommon which makes it that much more refreshing when one comes across it. However, when we see the value in our work, whether artistic or not, we validate ourselves and are capable of spreading that passion to others, which in his mind is one of the most powerful forms of medicine and therapy.
In a rightful culmination of his hard work and strong character, Mansour was granted admission into the University of Notre Dame, where he will be studying and furthering his musical talents in the fall of 2015. He hopes to obtain a dual degree in some form of musical study as well as film or possibly business.
For quite some time, he has been fixated on composing music for various films and anyone that knows him personally will surely say that he is well on his way. In an era that underappreciates music such as his, Alex Mansour has reminded all of his peers of the power of art in general and how it can influence our lives for the better.