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Benefit concert helps produce ‘artists with a conscience’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Some young artists in Bethel College’s Academy for Performing Arts will be using their talent this weekend to do some good for others.

BCAPA is partnering with Mennonite Central Committee to support a school in Palestine.

The Global Arts Charity Concert (for Sunrise and Hope) will be Sunday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus.

Admission is a freewill donation at the door to Shoroq wa-Amal (Sunrise and Hope) Children’s Center, located in a refugee camp in Gaza, Palestine. BCAPA found Shoroq wa-Amal through MCC’S Global Family program.

Global Family strives to support children and youth around the world affected by poverty, violence and HIV/AIDS, through providing quality, community-based educational opportunities.

It’s not unusual for a group, such as a public school or Sunday school class, to participate in Global Family, but “MCC said that they have never had a concert done as a benefit for one of their Global Family groups,” said Danika Bielek, BCAPA executive director. “In this case, it is not only a school [BCAPA] sponsoring Shoroq wa-Amal, but a community supporting this children’s center by attending a concert.”

To pick Shoroq wa-Amal, BCAPA students looked at different educational programs in need from different countries around the world where MCC works, then voted on which they wanted to support.

Shoroq wa-Amal provides “a safe and nurturing space” for children 6-16 years of age “in a community that experiences 80 percent unemployment and widespread violence,” according to MCC’s Global Family website.

“At Shoroq wa-Amal, they teach expressive arts to help children cope with all they have been through, leadership skills to all students regardless of gender, and skills that [can] later help them gain employment,” said Bielek.

The March 4 concert will include music by BCAPA’s string orchestra and guitar ensemble, as well as dances by BCAPA dance students, with guest artist Kalina Bartlett from Ballet Wichita.

“We are trying to teach the true value of the arts to our students,” Bielek said, “that [art can] help others, as well as entertain them.

“To me, the really cool thing is that our students are learning that their art has a great potential for helping others,” she added. “We are hoping not just to train them to be artists, but to be artists with a conscience.”

For more information on the Global Arts Charity Concert (for Sunrise and Hope), call 316-283-4902.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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