HarMonia concert raises $25,000 for Summer on the Hill

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Kate Beckler, Staff Writer

HarMonia raised over $25,000 for Summer on the Hill in their fifth annual chamber music concert on Saturday evening. Two out of the five annual performances have been virtual, but this event marked the return to the stage in person. After the performanced, HarMonia held a reception to encourage donations, Jisang Kymm said.

While the event itself is free, attendees are encouraged to support Summer on the Hill. The money donated from the event will go toward Summer on the Hill’s general operating budget, which includes classroom materials, teacher salaries, buses, food, and T-shirts. 

HarMonia is a music group that began with a group of ninth graders, from the school, in 2018 who were passionate about music and wanted to use their talents to help out the community. “They decided to play a benefit concert for a cause close to home and settled on Summer on the Hill,” Executive Director of Summer on the Hill Markell Parker said. 

This year’s concert featured students playing the violin, cello, viola, and piano. Students played a variety of quartets, trios, and group pieces that covered artists from Tchaikovsky to Brandenburg, showcasing their range in ability and talent. “I think the concert went pretty well and we had a pretty good audience too and I had fun playing,” violinist Stephanie Lee (10), said. 

The group started rehearsing in April in order to be fully ready for the concert, violinist Ella Shaham (10) said. They met in person three times to put the individual parts together, but the majority of the practice happened independently. “We had to contribute time outside of rehearsals to learn our parts and the rehearsals helped us bring the parts all together,” Lee said. 

The performers practiced with Ani Gregorian Resnick P ‘21 ‘21 ‘23, Veronica Oh P ‘21, and Adele Anthony. As the main director of the ensemble, Resnick helped to find pieces, coached the groups, and worked with Parker to coordinate with Summer on the Hill, Shaham said. Veronica Oh made our posters and promo things and the amount of time that the coaches and Ani Resnick dedicated to make this event happen is unbelievable,” Lee said. 

In addition to the posters that Oh created, the group worked together to use other forms of promotion to encourage donations, Shaham. “We shared the links to donate and/or buy tickets, and people donated for weeks leading up to the event,” said. Although some of the donations came from the concert itself, the weeks leading up to the event raised the most money, she said. 

The HarMonia performers were able to bond over their love of music and talent which helped to make the event so beautiful, Shaham said. “It’s a rewarding experience to play the violin alongside friends and know that we are helping contribute to a greater cause, and overall, it is also a lot of fun,” she said. 

The ensemble brought an already close-knit group of friends closer together, Shaham said. “They were all good friends and shared both talent and passion for music, so they created HarMonia to use these things they had in common to help the HM community through Summer on the Hill,” she said. 

“It was such a fun experience, and it was great to be able to give to an important Horace Mann-affiliated program like Summer on the Hill,” Kymm said.