Students from the Musical Offering have been lighting up the streets of Evanston with live music throughout the month. Meeting at eight different locations on five different dates, these young musicians have been raising money for their annual fall show (MO show) as well as collecting donations. The name: Busking for Black Lives and MO show. The Musical Offering, located on Custer Avenue, is a local music school in Evanston, at which many ETHS students can take lessons, with the option of learning a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, voice and more.
“I’ve been at the Musical Offering for maybe about six years, and I’ve just seen the ways that they have opened up doors for me and so many other students. It’s a great place to make music and there’s this lovely small community there. I’m hopeful that it expands as more people learn about what the Musical Offering is,” Senior Howard Godfrey says.
For the past four years, Godfrey has written and composed these fall productions. Rehearsals were originally scheduled to begin soon, but COVID-19 has caused the Musical Offering to face some complications. In order to raise money for the show, Godfrey came up with the idea to get groups of students to come together and play live music, also known as busking.
“It’s fun to be able to play music with my friends, but also share that with the community. It really reminds me that Evanston is not so big all the time and to be able to share what I love to do with strangers,” 2020 ETHS graduate and Musical Offering student Ally Hurd says.
In addition to raising money for their show, 25 percent of proceeds will be donated to Assata’s Daughters, Godfrey’s choice of charity. This Black, female-led Chicago based organization formed in 2015 works to educate and empower Black youth by “providing them with political education, leadership development, mentorship, and revolutionary services,” according to their mission statement.
“We started playing, and initially I thought, ‘This is a great way to raise money for our show for props and costumes,’ But with everything that’s going on, I want to find a way to give back,” Godfrey remarks.
Assata’s Daughters was chosen by Godfrey after lots of researching, learning, and looking for somewhere meaningful to donate. Many of the performers including Hurd were excited to jump right in and do their part in fundraising.
“It was important to me that I found a way to contribute to the Black Lives Matter fight and benefit a really cool organization,” Hurd says.
The initial goal was to raise $800 dollars overall. Now with over $4,000, students are looking into finding alternative ways to rehearse and perform their show, with one possibility being to film it. Now with more funds, the students have more options to look into.
“It’s a great way to connect with people and to make music and to raise awareness and to raise money. So I’m just really appreciative of everyone who came out to support.” Godfrey adds.
After raising well above their goal, the Musical Offering students are now able to donate around $1,000to Assata’s Daughters and work on their show. The innovative and creative ideas crafted by students shows how anyone can make a change.