SRU joins Butler Area Schools for concert to benefit local food bank


Man playing a trombone

The Slippery Rock University Wind Ensemble is joining more than 200 student musicians from Butler Area Schools for a concert to benefit St. Vincent DePaul Food Bank in Butler, Feb. 27.

Feb. 26, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - "Will play for food" is not just a common message written on the sign at the feet of a hungry street musician, it's the concept for an outreach concert between Slippery Rock University and Butler Area Schools. Recognizing that food insecurity is on the rise, the SRU Wind Ensemble and the Butler Area School Band program are coming together for a concert to benefit a local food bank, 7-9 p.m., Feb. 27, at the Butler Intermediate High School Auditorium.

There is free admission to the concert but all attendees are asked to bring a canned good or nonperishable food item that will be collected at the concert and donated to the St. Vincent DePaul Food Bank in Butler.

"Community service adds meaning to what we do," said Jeff Kroner, a band director at Butler Area who is a 1991 SRU graduate. "We need to share with one another and many people donate to food banks around the holidays, but people are hungry in February, too, and especially with the recent Federal government shutdown we recognized that food bank reserves are low."

More than 230 student musicians from the Butler Area Schools, grades 8-12, will join 55 members of the SRU Wind Ensemble in presenting the concert. Ten selected musicians from Butler Area will also play alongside SRU students for a performance of "Arabesque," written by Pittsburgh composer Samuel Hazo.

"There are so many benefits to this concert," said Jonathan Helmick, SRU associate professor of music and director of bands. "It's going to benefit the local community through the support of the food pantry program; it's going to benefit the Butler students, who will get to play with some stellar musicians from SRU; and this will help SRU students get a perspective for teaching in the public schools as well. Butler has a really solid band program and their directors do a wonderful job. And, of course, the people are going get to hear some exciting and fun music as well. There's going to be popular music, marches, contemporary music - something for everyone."

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