A wave of support

Eddie Dilworth

Myriad musicians gather at university for tsunami benefit concert Friday

A pianist, a jazz band, a high school choir and a blind singer and musician will gather together to hold a benefit concert for those affected by the tsunami waves.

Music on Main Street will be held at The Kent Stage on Friday to lend support to victims of the disaster in a dozen Asian countries.

The show, sponsored by the Kent Rotary Club, will raise money by entertaining contributors with a variety show of different acts and performances, said Walter Watson, past president of the club and former music professor.

Watson aimed to include performers from Portage County. Among the entertainment will be Watson playing piano, the Kent State jazz band and Kent Roosevelt High School choir.

The Kent State jazz band is what is known as a big band and has about 20 people, said Chas Baker, director of jazz ensembles.

“People really liked the jazz band in past years, so we decided to have them play again,” Watson said.

This is the third year that the Kent Rotary Club will sponsor Music on Main Street at the Kent Stage, Watson said. In the past, funds have gone to various non-profit organizations.

“We’ve raised about $30,000 a year for the past 15 years,” Watson said of the club’s different activities. “All money stays in the community and goes towards needy organizations like Center of Hope.”

The stage also supports non-profit organizations, helping them raise money for different organizations around Kent, said Richele Charlton, assistant director at the Kent Stage. Organizations they’ve helped in the past include Town Hall II and the Kent Police Department.

“I think it will be a good event,” Charlton said. “Hopefully a lot of people come out, and maybe they’ll want to come back for another event.”

Watson expects a good turnout.

“We usually sell out; we’ve been pretty lucky,” Watson said.

The show will last about an hour and 15 minutes, Watson said.

Tickets for the event are $10 for the general public and $5 for students. The Kent Stage accommodates 633 patrons.

Donations can also be made at the event, Watson said. Checks can be made out to the Kent Rotary Foundation.

“I think it’s a great and wonderful event,” Baker said. “We would love to play there (the Kent Stage) under any conditions.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Eddie Dilworth at [email protected].