Students to perform alongside renowned musicians for concert honoring journalist

By Arielle Maxner

Danni Xia ’12 walks into the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica and appraises the room, looking for “a large venue that could accommodate a few hundred people, and one that would match the theme of peace and tolerance of the memorial concert.”

“When I visited the church, it was really beautiful and I could see a successful concert there,” Xia said.

The church is the one of many venues she’s considered for the Oct. 30 concert she’s organizing as part of her work as vice-president of the Music Student’s Service League, a student-run charity music group.

The event is the fourth annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert, honoring Daniel Pearl, an American journalist who was killed in Pakistan in 2002.

“This is part of an international concert series in the month of October, which is [Daniel Pearl’s] birthday,” Xia said. “People around the world have concerts to honor him and all of his ideals. The concerts are centered around the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which was created by Daniel Pearl’s parents because he adored music and was an excellent violinist.”

“The Foundation does a lot of charity events and promotes understanding, especially religious understanding because that was one of the problems that caused the tragedy in Pakistan,” Xia said. “Basically they promote the World Music Days and they also donate to churches and Catholic events.”

Focusing on “promoting harmony, tolerance and peace through the power of music,” the concert was started in MSSL four years ago, and is the organization’s biggest event every year, Xia said.

She is not alone in helping organize the concert. Eric Lin ’14 helped with programs, Matthew Lucas ’14 with fundraising and Ashley Wu ’13 with publicity.

“My job is to basically spread the word about the concert so that we have people show up,” Wu said.

“As the head of publicity, I composed a public release statement and sent it to various newspapers, radio stations and television stations,” Wu said. “I went to Santa Monica and posted flyers in local coffee shops. I also sent emails to other music teachers in Southern California. With middle school teacher Emily Reola’s help we also spread the word to the middle school campus.”

“We had to do all these committees and programs,” Xia said. “There are so many little details to attend to that you don’t realize until you get into it, so you constantly have to be thinking steps before and trying to think what you have to do and how to organize everything.”

Both are looking forward to the concert itself and seeing their work pay off, as well as listen to the performers. Special guests include Philip Glenn, a violinist and recipient of the Daniel Pearl Peace Memorial, the Makoto Taiko Drum Ensemble and Lynn Harrell, a renowned cellist and president and founder of the HEARTbeats Foundation, Ruth and Judea Pearl, the parents of Daniel Pearl, are also making an introduction.

Lin, Lucas and Grace Pan ’16 are also performing at the concert, having passed an audition.

“After auditioning for the Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert, I was very proud to be selected to perform my piece, the Presto and Adagio movements by Handel,” Pan said.

Pan, Wu and Xia got involved with MSSL through their music teachers and friends.

“Music is a universal language, where even if someone can’t speak it, he or she can understand and interpret it in his or her own way,” Pan said.

Xia agrees, saying, “I love the message of what we do and what goes into this concert. Before, I played the piano, but it’s not the same… I didn’t realize how powerful music actually is. It can impact so many people and it’s the universal language. It can break through communication barriers and language barriers. It can raise more awareness. This concert is going towards that. Organizing this concert and being in MSSL helped me realize how big this is and what music can do for people, and that’s really exciting.”

“It is really interesting being involved with all the behind the scenes efforts it takes to put on a huge concert,” Wu said. “I’m looking forward to the concert and seeing all our work put together.”

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