On Friday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m., choirs from Fairmont State University and Greenbrier East High School will present a choral concert at the First Presbyterian Church, Jackson St., Fairmont. The program, titled “Healing Through Harmony,” is a benefit to raise money for victims of the flooding that struck West Virginia in June 2016. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. A goodwill offering will be taken.
The concert is part of the “Healing Through Harmony” tour, which is a joint project of the choral programs of Fairmont State and Greenbrier East High School. The choirs are touring around the state together and will also present concerts in Lewisburg, Charleston and Morgantown.
“When the floods hit last summer, I wanted to do something for those whose lives had been upended by the tragedy,” said Dr. Sam Spears, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at FSU. “Because I am a musician, I wanted to create a musical response to the tragedy.”
Spears was acquainted with Barbara Lutz, the director of choral music at Greenbrier East High School. Greenbrier County was one of the hardest hit by the floods, with 15 deaths and hundreds of people forced from their homes.
Spears reached out to Lutz, who was struggling to find ways to help her students deal with the loss of their homes, and in some cases neighbors, friends and family members. They decided that bringing their choirs together to sing music that spoke to their hearts was a way to help the high school students process their grief and to give the college students a deeper understanding and empathy for what their younger counterparts had experienced.
Their plans come to fruition this week as their students tour the state together. The concert programs will be both uplifting and cathartic, as they remind the audience of the tragedy that has occurred and celebrate the resilience of the people of West Virginia.
The complete tour itinerary is: March 29, 7:30 p.m. at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg; March 30, 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston; March 31, 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Fairmont; and April 2, 3 p.m. at Suncrest United Methodist in Morgantown. All concerts are free and open to the public. A goodwill offering will be taken at each concert. For more information, visit the FSU Department of Music Facebook page or call (304) 367-4118.