Student production raises funds to support benefactor’s mission

Sara Petersen

Jason Leupold sings “Highway Miles” by Peter Mills at the “Open Road” concert. The concert will be at noon today and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Murphy Auditorium in Rockwell Hall. Donations will be given to WomenSafe, Inc. and the Green House. Katie Roup

Credit: DKS Editors

“Open Road: A Benefit Concert” will open today and will aid the Green House, which provides emergency shelter and support services for victims of domestic violence in Chardon.

Aaron Schoonover, sophomore musical theater major and director of “Open Road,” decided to do a benefit show because “a lot of other colleges do it.”

“(Other colleges) try to do one every year, and I kind of wanted to start something this year,” Schoonover said. “(Kent State has) never done a benefit concert before.”

INFOBOX “Open Road:

A Benefit Concert”

Noon, today

7:30 p.m., tomorrow

Murphy Auditorium, Rockwell Hall

Tickets are free, but donations can be made for the Green House

The Green House and WomenSafe is a joint non-profit organization that offers information, counseling, education, referrals and support to victims of domestic violence, according to the group’s Web site. Roe Green, the benefactor of the new Roe Green Center in the Music and Speech Center, is a large contributor to this mission.

Schoonover wanted to do a cabaret as a student production, and the concert tomorrow ties into his desire to have a benefit concert.

“I found all these songs about home and freedom and running away,” Schoonover said. “I just thought home is what this show is about, and Roe Green has given so much to the arts in the community. It’s nice to give back to her other projects.”

J.P. Makowski, junior musical theater major, said giving to the Green House is important to him as well.

“I think it’s important because (Green is) a person who gives, gives, gives,” Makowski said. “So this is kind of a way for us to say personally, thank you.”

Melissa Cotton, sophomore musical theater major, said she grew up in a safe home, and there is a need for projects like the Green House.

“I feel it’s important to give back because I’ve been very privileged,” Cotton said. “But there are people out there who don’t have a home to go to. They don’t have a safe place to be, and the Green Center offers that.”

“Open Road” opens at noon today and at 7:30 tomorrow evening in the Murphy Auditorium in Rockwell Hall. Tickets are free, but donations can be made toward the Green House and raffle tickets will be sold for themed baskets.

“I want people to leave feeling they’ve made a difference,” Schoonover said. “Usually, people go to a show, and we make a difference in their life; we try to alter their opinion of something. I want them to leave not only feeling that . I want them to feel like they’ve done something nice.”

Contact performing arts reporter Sara Petersen at [email protected].