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Press Release



September 7, 2012

Musicians make a world of difference playing for change


TMUOn Saturday, September 22, musicians and other performers will come together on stage in the Robert Brown Theater with one goal in mind: to change the world.

The occasion is Playing for Change Day at Cowley College, an all-day marathon concert to raise donations for the Playing for Change Foundation. Established in 2007, the Playing For Change Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to create positive change through music and arts education. To date, 8 music schools and programs have been created in South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, and Nepal. 600 children participate in regular music instruction, and the organization has plans to expand into more communities in America and other countries as funds allow.

The concert at Cowley has been organized by Chris Mayer, instructor in the college’s Social Science Department who is also active as a musician and composer.

“I’ve seen first-hand how lives can be transformed through music, including my own,” Mayer said. “It’s very gratifying to be able, even in a small way, to help make that possible on a global scale.”

The marathon concert begins at 11 a.m. and runs until approximately 10 p.m. The suggested donation is $1 to hear one band or act, or $5 for an all-day, come-and-go admission.

It is remarkable how a comparatively small sum of money can make a significant impact in the developing world. According to the Playing for Change Day website, just $50 buys five bags of cement to lay the foundation of a new music school, and $150 will pay a music teacher’s salary for one month.

“I know it is a cliché,” Mayer says, “but with the kind of money we spend on fast food or vending machines in a week, very real and lasting improvements can be made not just in the life of a child, but in the life of an entire community through music education. Five dollars will go a very long way.”

The line-up for Playing for Change Day at Cowley College starts with an open mike hour for Cowley students at 11 a.m. Soloists and small groups of singers, instrumentalists, writers, poets, stand-up comedians and improv artists from the student body will be welcome to take the stage.

The bands begin at noon with multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Tim Durham, followed by Reintarnation, a twang-infused trio playing a mix of classic rock, country, folk and blues. Piper Leigh and the Smokin’ Section will fill the house with their blend of rock and blues, and Synaxis (DJ Ryan Mackey) will change the pace with his atmospheric “electronic music for the soul.” The percussion ensemble Temporal Mechanics Union will present their repertoire of traditional drumming and experimental music. 5 Man Trio headlines the concert with their original, eclectic acoustic music.

Each band will play approximately an hour. Links to the various acts can be found at

The event at Cowley College is just one of 231 scheduled events in 45 countries. Performances are organized locally in venues large and small, and many (including Cowley’s concert) will stream live on the internet, linking the global events together.

The foundation’s goal for 2012 is to raise $100,000 to support its programs. As of Thursday, September 6, $22,759 had been pledged in advance of Playing for Change Day, including $15 pledged anonymously for the concert at Cowley.

For more information, go to and click on the icon over Arkansas City on the map, or call Chris Mayer at 620-441-5229. Donation pledges can be made through the website, or a $10 instant pledge can be made by texting PLAY to 84465.