On April 16, 2019, the Students Fighting Homelessness club at Grace Church School hosted their second annual Graceful Dead Concert. This is the only concert at Grace that involves both students and teachers playing instruments and singing together. Participants in the Jazz Band shared their talents with us. The people who played included: Jiwon Simpkins, Justin Gibble, Declan Harris, Mr. Kadajski, Dr. Ali, Mr. Diveki, and Mr. Leonard.
The incredible singers were Abisola Fashakin, Emma Seitz, and Petra Hinds. The songs they shared with us were Afro Blue, Superstition, Show Me, Don’t you Worry ‘Bout a Thing, The Chicken, and This is the Place. They chose this group of songs because each singer enjoyed the melodies, as did the community whom they played for. Their hard work and commitment really showed through their enthusiasm to sing. The band and the singers started practicing at the end of January, twice a week: Tuesday’s and Friday’s in the morning from 8:15 to 9. They did this all the way up until the concert date.
In addition to beautiful music, there were snacks and t-shirts. Students handed out merchandise to not only improve everyone’s experience but to give the viewers something that represents the Graceful Dead. Specifically, some items were provided by the Students Fighting Homelessness club, as well as the bread club. All proceeds went to the Students Fighting Homelessness club. The clubs provided snacks and drinks as well as a Graceful Dead t-shirt, made by the club, with both of the band’s logos on it. The Students Fighting Homelessness Club made $800, and all of the profits went to buying feminine hygiene products for the homeless. Feminine products are essential because they are crucial to menstruation, yet they are costly. Many homeless people do not have the luxury of a steady income, which results in a lack of personal necessities, such as feminine products. Because of this, they have to choose between eating or acquiring feminine products. As food is needed for survival, homeless people most likely choose food over hygiene products.
The concert took place in the Lower Commons. Many members of the community showed up to support both the cause and their peers. One of the members of the community, Brian Jorgenson, who attended the concert, said “Only at Grace Church School could you see the community come together and support a cause.”
Additionally, Jiwon Simpkins ‘19, one of the leaders of the Students Fighting Homelessness club and guitarist in the Graceful Dead band, said “It was an absolute honor and joy to see the Grace community come together for something greater than ourselves. It’s been an honor to lead the students fighting homelessness club for the last three years, and I’m confident that the new leadership will carry the torch,” Similarly, Mr. Divéki, one of Grace’s middle school science teachers, states “I certainly hope that younger generations of band members will continue this tradition. There are many talented musicians at the high school that can make this an everlasting tradition.”