Solidarity through song

November 30, 2017 Arts & Entertainment

The concert held in Knowles Chapel prior to Thanksgiving break served an immediate and powerful purpose: to offer awareness and support to the people of Puerto Rico amid the aftermath of recent hurricanes.

The concert began with original songs written by Rollins students, including “Broken Strings,” inspired by the singer’s guitar string actually snapping; “Clouds;” the beautifully sung French “La Verite” or “The Truth;” and “Somewhere in a Bar,” detailing the feelings of re-encountering a former lover. Whether joyful or sad in theme, the songs all had a hopeful undercurrent.

This was followed by the lead act, Rollins’ very own alumnus and "The Voice" semifinalist, Christian Cuevas.

Cuevas mentioned to the audience that he has family in Puerto Rico, and that this cause strikes him deeply and personally.

The chapel allowed the voices and instruments to resonate while keeping everything else silent; the setting was the ideal blend of solemn and hopeful.

Imposing though the chapel interior may be, Cuevas’ music quickly pulled any harshness from the air. His style, with its notes of jazz, produced soft, gently smiling melodies that had audience members swaying and swinging along.

He punctuated his tone well by asking audience members at one point to turn to the people next to them and say, “you are valuable.”

Cuevas played several original songs, such as “The Garden,” an ode to reckless, carefree love; “Is This Love,” a testimony to being in love with someone “who will be the death of you”; and “Clocks,” inspired by and about taking one’s time.

The themes in these songs—hope, optimism, faith, and love above all—are the only things the most unfortunate Puerto Ricans expect to receive; this concert aimed to at least try to change that.

The most moving piece of the concert was Cuevas’ “Mi Orgullo,” sung entirely in Spanish. Cuevas described the writing process for this melody as swift and effortless; he explains its inspiration as the pride a Puerto Rican feels at claiming both the US and Puerto Rican flags. It encourages “busca la luz ahora en la oscuridad," translated as, “Look for the light now, in the darkness.” This piece received a standing ovation.

Throughout the entirety of the concert, there was a jar in front of the performers to which audience members could further donate money to support the people of Puerto Rico. As the concert progressed, more and more people stood up to make a donation.

Presumably, President Cornwell’s aim for the concert was in line with the college’s mission. By raising awareness and encouraging support of issues beyond the continental U.S., Cornwell hoped to make students into responsible leaders and global citizens.

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