Galvanizing Change through Rockin’ for the Philippines

A Middletown High School Benefit Concert


Courtesy of Shane O'Neil

Under the leadership of their tireless advisor Ms. Nina D’Urso and President Aisha Bhoori, South’s Amnesty International Chapter prepares to galvanize civic awareness through music during Rockin’ for the Philippines: A Middletown High School Benefit Concert.

Middletown-based band, The Fifth Down, sings "Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)" during the dress rehearsal on Thursday, February 20th.
Middletown-based band, The Fifth Down, sings “Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)” during the dress rehearsal on Thursday, February 20th.

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This sage axiom of Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, has guided Middletown High School students throughout the past few months as they have prepared to show the Middletown community music’s ability to transcend ideologies, unite peoples, and promote social justice.

On Thursday, February 27th, Middletown High School South’s Amnesty International Chapter and National Honor Society, along with Middletown High School North’s National Honor Society, will host Rockin’ for the Philippines: A Middletown Benefit Concert to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Under the leadership of advisor Nina D’Urso and President Aisha Bhoori, the newly inaugurated Amnesty International Chapter initially spearheaded the collaborative, humanitarian project in November. After recruiting a diverse lineup of performers including South English teacher and martial arts guru, Jonathan Colavita, as well as the youngest performer at Count Basie Theatre’s 7th Annual Sinatra Tribute Gala, Zachary Alexander, the AI Chapter began reaching out to local businesses such as Panera Bread and Starbucks for donations of refreshments.

With the guidance of advisors Amanda Diercksen and Patricia Misciagna as well as efforts of student liaison Julia Terranova, Middletown North’s NHS implemented creative methods of fundraising, including auctioning prom kit baskets and North apparel. Through partnership with the tech crew, the NHS has prepared the stage for local bands such as the Bomberos and the Crimson Sky to entertain the community with alternative pop rock covers.

Nina Tripp, the AI Chapter’s music director, realizes the unifying effects that the concert has fostered: “To me, music is a powerful force of nature–one that can connect thousands of people and impact them each for a thousand different reasons. This benefit concert is such an incredible opportunity for me to use something that means so much to help change the lives of others. With North and South working so closely together, we’ve been able to make that change a reality.”

Rockin’ for the Philippines will be held in Middletown North’s theatre. Doors open at 6:30 P.M., and tickets are $5 at the door. Please come and support Middletown high school students in galvanizing change for the Philippines.