Three students took to tickling the ivories this weekend with philanthropy on their minds.
Senior chemistry and Spanish major Jameil Abou-Hanna, sophomore chemistry major Ashton Kalhorn and senior civil engineering major James Sapp raised more than $1200 for Easter Seals in a piano concert this past Sunday.
“The fact that people were willing to donate to charity made [the concert] even better,” said Kalhorn. “It’s always nice to be able to play for a cause that’s above yourself.”
The students performed a variety of classical and modern music for a crowd of over 100 students, faculty, friends and community members at.St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights.
“You got to see the humanitarian side of Jameil, Ashton, and James,” said senior biology and religious studies major Azeem Rehman. “It’s an important part of seeing that science majors aren’t all about just science; they can do other things too related to the arts.”
Abou-Hanna, who coordinated the event, said he was inspired to organize the event for charity by his piano professor.
“I got the idea because Dr. Russell did a fundraiser concert in Haiti to raise money for a Hatian music school,” he said. “I thought that was a really neat idea and I wanted to do something like that.”
Abou-Hanna has been playing piano for eight years and Kalhorn has been playing since the age of 5. They both took a break from playing piano in high school and picked it back up again in college.
“I realized that the four years of rest really built up a lot of drive to play piano again,” said Kalhorn. “I’ve loved playing it ever since.”
While both Abou-Hanna and Kalhorn have been playing piano for a long time, Sapp began playing when he started college.
“Find something you want to do, even if you think it might be too late to start something,” said Sapp. “You can start as a freshman in college. You can start as a senior in college; if it’s something you love doing keep working at it and you will do well”.
Abou-Hanna said through the piano concert, he learned how hard work can pay off.
“I think that’s one of the most important things you can do in life, to work hard and put all the effort you can towards something… whatever you’re involved in,” he said.