“Glee Project” contestant performing for Komen fundraising

October isn’t just s month for autumn colors and pumpkin spiced latte.

Every October, people nationwide participate in various activities to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Music Live! of ACBU is hosting Shanna Henderson, a contestant from season two of “The Glee Project,” in collaboration with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Chi Omega in the 7 p.m. Oct. 4 Student Center Ballroom.

Henderson was a senior theatre major at Auburn University in Alabama when she said that she realized she didn’t have a game plan for the future.

“I was just like ‘I’m not going to have a job when I graduate,’” Henderson said. “Some of my friends starting posting these video auditions for a contest. I remember my professor telling me that you’ll get 100 no’s before one maybe, so I thought ‘okay, I have to get these no’s out of the way.’”

Henderson said one audition led to another, and before she knew it, she was a contestant on “The Glee Project.”

“It all started in October 2011 and went all the way until August 2012,” Henderson said. “It was a healthy way to find a purpose for everything that I’ve been through. You’re basically telling [your story] to an audience and having them support you through overcoming diversity.”

Henderson said her grandfather was her father figure and inspiration. He played piano and other instruments and was even a part of a rock band.

“I looked up to him,” she said. “He was always playing music and that was kind of my foundation for all of this. He’s what got me started.”

Henderson said her grandfather’s side of the family has been a strong influence in her music and life, especially her great-grandmother.

“She was my guardian angel in life,” Henderson said. “She passed away of cancer, but I’ve found I get a lot of my strength from her. In high school, I even started a campaign called ‘Strike Out Breast Cancer’ because I played softball.”

Henderson said the passing of her great-grandmother makes this event and this month ‘near and dear’ to her heart. She said the passion and drive her great-grandmother portrayed are what she hopes to personally exemplify.

“I’ve learned [the record labels and music business] are the most intrigued by the people who are the most real,” Henderson said. “In musical theatre, I always used to hide. But now, instead of hiding, I am able to really talk openly and chase that dream.”

Henderson said the set list she has planned is Glee-inspired seeing how Glee has given her a new appreciation for mashups. Additionally, Henderson said she looks forward to visiting Peoria and Bradley.

“Lo and behold, one of my favorite professors at Auburn has a relative that goes to Bradley,” she said.

Free t-shirts and ice cream will be provided for those in attendance, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Chi Omega will be providing information on breast cancer awareness and upcoming events.

For more information, check the ACBU Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/buactivities.