Unity Club hosts instrument drive for school in Costa Rica


Clarissa Corral

Unity Club members and sponsor Mr. Payano gather around to play the song Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley. The club meets every Wednesday in the Orchestra room to spread peace and positivity through music. Unity Club will be accepting donations until May for their instrument drive.

By Clarissa Corral, Managing Editor

Every Wednesday a group of musicians ranging from pianists, ukulele players and cellists gather in the Orchestra room to create soothing melodies with positive life messages. Songs by Michael Jackson, The Beatles and Bob Marley are some of the many tunes that Unity Club plays together to spread humanitarian love and positivity through music.

Unity Club officer Elaina Huang, Div. 964, came up with the fundraising idea of hosting an instrument drive in which all of the instruments collected would be donated to the Escuela de Música Cóbano in Costa Rica.

“It was just kind of in the moment,” Huang said. “I just kind of thought about all the things I’ve done so far and all of the music programs that I’ve gotten to be in. I originally didn’t know where I was going to start this fundraiser, but my teachers told me about the school in Costa Rica and I was like ‘that’s perfect.’”

Mr. Payano, a music teacher and Unity Club sponsor, had wanted to collaborate with the school for quite some time and mentioned it to Huang.

“Once I heard the idea from Elaina wanting to do a fundraiser, I mentioned it to her and gave her some information,” Payano said. “She looked it up, she liked the idea and started doing her own research and contacted the directors and that’s kind of how it started.”

According to Huang, the process for the fundraiser began in June of last year and finally got approved in December.

With Payano’s support, Huang got in contact with the school in Costa Rica to determine what kind of instruments they needed.

The fundraiser is geared toward children-sized string instruments in any condition. Full size strings/band instruments, accessories, bows and rosins will also be accepted. According to Connoly Music, “rosin is a compound mixture that is primarily made with pine sap” and allows the string instrument to produce sound.

The instruments will be shipped via plane with Payano and his music colleagues who regularly travel to Costa Rica. According to Payano, the instruments may be shipped separately depending on the outcome of the fundraiser and the size of the instruments.

Unity Club will be hosting a concert on June 8 in addition to collecting instruments for the fundraiser, according to Payano. The funds raised will go toward purchasing more instruments as well as shipping costs.

Payano hopes to get other music clubs/organizations from Lane involved with the concert, such as Mariachi Club and Gospel Choir.

“We’re essentially trying to get all of the music clubs at Lane to work together and to put on an awesome concert and again, in the spirit of unity is like the theme to get everyone together to make something awesome happen,” Payano said.

Huang said that the reason why Unity Club got involved was because the club has similar values with the school in Costa Rica.

“Our club is focused on bringing peace through music,” Huang said. “The school does the same thing because they teach using this Education [in] Human Values model which Mr. Payano kind of helped to develop in his own classes: so that’s why we decided to go with this school because they’re kind of parallel with our club.”

The Education in Human Values model (EHV) is a foundation based on the five universal core values: truth, love, peace, right conduct and non-violence, according to the Human Values foundation.

“It’s all about taking the goodness that’s already inside of people and bringing that goodness out, especially in our students and then really to make the students be the leaders,” Payano said.

Payano is certified in EHV and is the first teacher to apply the model in a high school orchestra setting.

Tom Zelle, a professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities at North Park University and Payano’s former professor, has been involved with the school in Costa Rica for approximately two and a half years.

His involvement with the school primarily consists of training teachers using the EHV model as well as working with the community.

Zelle viewed himself as a “great fan on the sideline” and supports Huang and Unity Club with the fundraiser.

“I think whenever you try to help another group or another school in another country, it makes such a difference if you have a personal connection,” Zelle said in a phone interview.

Both Huang and Payano said that the fundraiser has been doing well so far and they hope to collect as many instruments as they can. Unity Club will be accepting donations until May.

“If we can help a school in Costa Rica which is dedicated to teaching human values, and if we can just get them a few more instruments so that a few more kids can join and learn all of these positive messages and build their confidence, I think that we will be doing a very good service to the world even in a small way,” Payano said.