By Devlin Smith
Angela Carducci, a 16-year-old junior at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, N.Y., recently received the Community Service Award at her school. She was more excited about something that came with the award, though, a $500 donation from one of the award’s presenters to African Well Fund.
On May 24th, Angela presented Sing Well, a concert featuring performances by several choral groups that raised money for AWF. It’s Angela’s efforts that got the attention of local media, as well as the performers, and have inspired people to continue donating several weeks after the concert.
Angela shared a little bit about what it takes to put on a charity concert and how Sing Well could become a recurring event.
How did you first learn about AWF?
I was at a conformation retreat and the gentleman told us about a first grader who had raised an enormous amount of money to build a well. I was so inspired by his efforts that I searched for an organization that would build wells in Africa. AWF was the perfect solution.
What made you decide to put together a benefit concert for the organization?
I am a singer and I also play piano. I love music in all shapes and forms and I know and understand it well. It seemed perfect to me that a concert would be a good way to raise money because there is nothing I enjoy more than hearing and performing music.
How were you able to secure the venue?
I belong to St. Peter and Paul Church in Hamburg, N.Y., and I had asked my pastor if it might be possible to hold a charity concert. He seemed to like the idea and agreed to allow me to use the church for the concert.
How did you line up the performers?
I called various well-known choral groups throughout western New York, however, many were not willing to do a charity event or were unavailable. Many were also turned off by the fact that I was in high school. The Nardin Academy Chapel Singers were with me from the start. As somewhat of a last resort, I called several local parishes to see if they had a group that was willing to perform. The Witness from St. Bernadette’s was eager to perform and were enthusiastic from the beginning. I was able to get a hold of the Hamburg Classical Guitar Quartet because the mother of one of my close friends is a member. They were very excited to come and perform and did a great job.
Who helped you organize this?
Though I pretty much spearheaded the concert, I had many amazing volunteers and donors who helped me along the way. However, even my parents did not know about it until the day before when my mother had to take me to the local television station. I had many great donors—Evenhouse Printing for the posters and Nardin Academy for the flyers, as well as all the local media resources—who helped to make the concert completely cost-free. Also, my friends gave me support and encouragement all along the way and all volunteered to work at the concert.
How did you spread the word?
Evenhouse Printing agreed to print me 100 color posters all for free that I hung up all around Hamburg in local businesses and schools. Nardin Academy, my high school, also printed me flyers that I put in over 200 house doors. I contacted the local paper, The Sun, and they ran an article about the concert. My friend, Paige Hazzan, wrote an article in the Buffalo News NeXt magazine segment. Also, I appeared on Channel 2 News’ “Spot 2 Be.”
Can you describe how the evening went?
The concert went better than I ever imagined. We had over 45 people show up and all of the performers and families totaled close to 100. The night went very smoothly, starting with a performance by the HCGQ, then the Nardin Academy Chapel Singers and then Witness. It was filled with uplifting and energetic performances which was well worth seeing.
How many people showed up and how much money was raised?
The concert raised $725 from the door and with post-concert donations we raised a whopping $2371. It was an outcome better than I had ever imagined. [Ed. Note: Thanks to a continued stream of donations, Angela’s current fundraising total is nearly $3,000.]
What was the most challenging part of putting this on?
Juggling school and extracurricular activities along with the concert was very stressful, however, I knew that whatever temporary problems I was going through were a million times less than those of people in Africa. I really wanted to help in any way I could and the thought that I could make even a small difference was more than enough encouragement to keep going.
What was your favorite part in organizing this event?
My favorite part of putting on this concert was finding out how unbelievably selfless and generous people can be. I met so many charitable people that were more than willing to help me out in any way possible. It was really inspiring how considerate others are.
Had you ever done anything like this before?
This was the first charity event I had ever done. I was completely naive to the amount of work it takes to pull something like this off but it was most definitely worth it.
Do you plan on organizing more events for charity in the future?
I’m most definitely planning on holding another Sing Well charity concert for AWF in the future. This time, I’m planning to do it earlier in the year and have only high school groups perform. I have also started a netraiser club called Network for Friends for Nothing but Nets, a charity that accepts donations to provide bed mosquito nets for people in Africa. I am hoping to hold a dessert extravaganza to raise money for the cause. To join my group or learn more about Nothing But Nets, you can visit www.nothingbutnets.net.
By Devlin Smith