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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Olympus and East High School choirs joined together for ‘The Power of One’ benefit concert

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Pre-show practice.

by Carol Hendrycks    

The Power of One, a Utah refugee benefit concert under the direction of Vicki Belnap, Jenny Corbett, Robin Edwards, and parent and staff support on Oct. 30 at Olympus High School, was a spectacular program performed by over 300 students from Olympus High School, East High School, Howard R. Driggs Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Bonneville Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Olympus Junior High, Glendale Middle School, Evergreen Junior High and Carden Academy. They have been practicing for months with youth of all nationalities and interests but with one united factor — to join together with one voice. The performance began with 8-year-old Adyline Vilchinsky, standing alone in the spotlight singing. Just one voice, singing in the darkness.

Then, one by one, students started singing with Adyline, the 100+ students from both sides of the auditorium began to come down to join other students on the stage, and the blending of all the voices melted into one. It was an enlightening message of love and hope to all, with proceeds benefitting refugees in our community and bringing awareness that we are all in this human condition together. 

Song selections incuded “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman, “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, “Thankful” by Josh Groban and “God Help the Outcasts” by Alan Menken from Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” All of the musicals numbers were beautifully choreographed with dance, incredible staging, audio and lighting that made it that much more inviting and united. A professional performance by some of the most talented, musically inclined students and some students singing for the very first time along with the Jambo Africa Burundi Drummers and the Titan Singers gave a standing ovation show. 

Between musical numbers, students expressed that by contributing even one dollar could change the life of one person. Donations were accepted by Catholic Community Services, LDS Charities and Utah Refugee Connection to help refugees seek safety and happiness here in Utah. The benefit included a refugee spotlight in which local students were given the opportunity to tell a bit of their journey and how they have come to call Salt Lake home. Their inspiring stories of perseverance, escape from oppression and war, their message of hope and goodwill in people everywhere brought tears of sadness but overall messages of happiness. These youth were grateful and humble delivering words that unified all who attended the two performances that evening.  

When Belnap began to work on this third annual concert she said, “I hope by sharing the message of the power of one will alter the students and community awareness in helping to make life better for refugees, for all people in our community and beyond.” She also noted that teaching honesty, kindness and humility are the most important things to her and of course her music. Belnap seemed to glide across the stage with so much enthusiasm and a gleeful sense of conducting students that perhaps had never had an opportunity to sing before, some students still learning to speak English and a mix of more musically seasoned students. All of the performers, staffing, community supporters, sponsors, guests of honor and attendees coming together to demonstrate how one voice, one act of kindness, one heart and a donation of one dollar can make a difference in the life of a refugee and make the world a better place. The Power of One program concert proved to be a moving and heartfelt performance. 

The audience also enjoyed a sneak preview of the upcoming Olympus High School performances — 

“White Christmas” and “The Secret Garden.” Show dates begin Dec. 1. Check the Olympus High School website for show times.