St. John’s Tri-M Music Honor Society held a special virtual concert this year to spread the joy of music, at the same time, raise funds for a worthy cause. The St. John’s 2nd Annual Benefit Concert was held on three separate dates, December 18, 19, and 20. Due to the island’s COVID-19 restrictions, the concert was showcased virtually via Zoom.
Denise Sarmiento, St. John’s Glee Club president and Tri-M vice president, expressed that sharing the joy of music, especially at this time, is important because music can uplift and bring people together regardless of any situation. “Through this online concert, we hoped to brighten people’s day and bring them this small piece of cheerfulness in the comfort of their homes,” she said.
During the hour-long music event, viewers were delighted in riveting performances by the St. John’s Tri-M Honor Society and Glee Club. The Tri-M performances included hits from Disney movies, Waving Through A Window from Dear Evan Hansen, Lean on Me, and Fly Me to the Moon, to name a few.
The Glee Club performed a variety of Christmas classics including Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The concert concluded with the Tri-M officers, Felix Gong, Denise Sarmiento, Jamie Lee and Blase Ramos singing to O Come All Ye Faithful.
Admission to the online concert was free, but viewers were encouraged to donate. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Island Girl Power Program of the Ayuda Foundation. Island Girl Power is a prevention and enrichment program that believes sustainable positive social change begins in the hearts and minds of the youth. Felix Gong, Tri-M Honor Society president and high school junior, remarked that the organization was chosen as this year’s charity because of their commendable goals and initiatives. “The work that they do to spread joy to young girls around the island who are struggling is very moving and impactful.” With the contributions of generous benefactors, over $2,000 was raised for the charitable organization.
Being the first virtual concert hosted by St. John’s School, the concert organizers tackled some challenges. “Finding a means to present the concert and ensuring that the quality is acceptable while streaming is a big challenge,” said Gong. He added that another obstacle was the need for editing skills. “Thankfully, we have many talented Tri-M members that are able to edit the videos, but syncing the sounds and making sure the sound is balanced is a tremendous task when producing an online performance.” Sarmiento added that it took several edits and re-recordings to succeed, but the students knew that it would be worth it in the end as it was for a great cause.
Organizers also benefited from the concert being held virtually. “We are no longer limited by location, so the concert is accessible to more people,” Gong stated. The high school junior further explained that another benefit of an online concert was that one person can cover multiple parts of the music, which could lead to a fuller sound. Additionally, any technical and sound issues could be immediately fixed and monitored.
St. John’s music teacher, Mr. Norman Babia, applauded the student musicians. “I have never been so proud of our students. They produced a very wonderful show – first time, a technically difficult production, and for a noble cause at that.”
Gong thanked all the members that participated, as well as Mr. Babia, Ms. Olah, and Ms. Chua for assisting him with this concert. Gong furthermore thanked Ms. Juanita Blas from Island Girl Power for being his contact person. Sarmiento expressed her gratitude to the Tri-M for allowing the Glee Club to perform at the concert. She also acknowledged the talented members for working tirelessly to give their best performances, “especially Elizabeth Chen who accompanied all four Glee performances.”