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Press Release



September 26, 2012

Playing for Change Day at Cowley College makes a global difference


Playing for Change DayThe first Playing for Change Day benefit concert at Cowley College raised $384 to support music education in communities around the world. The money has gone to the Playing for Change Foundation, and will be used to further their goals for 2013. These include doubling the number of music programs the foundation supports from six to 12, increasing the number of students served to 750, and creating a total of 163 jobs. Currently, Playing for Change supports programs in Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Mali and Nepal, with plans for new programs in other regions.

The marathon concert in the Robert Brown Theater was just one of 332 events held in 52 countries on Saturday, September 22. While the official accounting doesn’t take place until October 1, the current total at the Playing for Change Day web site is $135,267---a remarkable figure considering most donations came in small amounts. According to the foundation’s web site, a relatively small sum of money goes a very long way. Fifty dollars buys the cement to lay the foundation for a school building, and just $150 pays a music teacher’s salary for a month.

“I’m really very pleased with the results, particularly the on-line part of it,” said Chris Mayer, instructor in the Social Science Department who organized the event at Cowley College.

Of the total raised, $165 was donated via the Playing for Change Day at Cowley College web site. A large percentage of the audience was online as well. It is estimated from 20 to 60 people an hour were watching the concert stream live on the internet.

The day began at 11 a.m. with performances by Cowley students Rebecca Muñoz, KC Udarbe, and Rebekah Anliker and Jason Williams.

“The student performances were fantastic,” Mayer said. “They’re all very talented, and I’m so grateful they shared that talent for this cause.”

The students were followed by local singer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Durham, accompanied by Arkansas City bassist Lee Velasquez. Ryan Mackey, an Anglican priest and faculty member at Central Christian College in McPherson, KS, then took the stage. Mackey performs electronica and computer-generated music under the stage name Synaxis. He was followed by Seattle-based band leader and performer Evan Gackstatter, who played a solo set.

Temporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble resident at Cowley College and hosts of the day’s concert, then performed. The line-up concluded that evening with 5 Man Trio, a band formed at Cowley College 10 years ago by then-faculty members Dave Bostwick, Gary Gackstatter (father to Evan) and Mayer. The last time the three performed at Cowley was 2007.

“I want to express my heart-felt thanks to everyone at the college, in the community and on-line who supported Playing for Change Day,” Mayer said. “My hope is it becomes an annual event to showcase the amazing talent we have here, and make a positive difference in the lives of children and communities around the world.”

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