Unity club spreads positive message through music

By Ela Messina, Reporter

From Muslim Club to Gay-Straight Alliance, the third annual Unity Club Concert brought together a wide array of clubs at Lane, each one sporting a poster and a performance for one of the five human values: peace, truth, love, nonviolence and right action.

Since the Unity Club was formed in 2016, their focus has been on spreading happiness within the school community through the power of music. Throughout the year, the club organizes different events and performances in order to create a safe space for students to express themselves through music.

Olivia Brunell, Div. 060, was drawn to the club because of its positive demeanor and welcoming atmosphere. Now, as vice president, she continues to build upon the open dynamic of the club.

“Even if you don’t play music or play an instrument, we still invite you to come and just play with us,” Brunell said.

In addition to learning and playing music, club officers integrate the weekly human value lessons taught schoolwide.

According to club President Elaina Huang, Div. 964, the five values are incorporated not only in meetings and group discussions but also in the music chosen by the club. Huang said she finds this to be essential in spreading their message.

“All of our songs have positive messages,” Huang said. “It’s a time where there is so much chaos and bad stuff happening, and with this club, it’s clear that even just music itself is enough to change someone’s mood or really make a difference.”

In order to ensure that the selected songs create a cohesive performance, the club begins preparing for the concert as soon as possible.

“We’ve been working on this concert since the beginning of the year,” Huang said. “Probably since the end of last year, actually, because a lot of preparation goes into the songs that we choose, and we like to get a jump start by figuring it out the year before.”

The setlist created for this year’s concert included songs such as “Lean On Me,” “A Million Dreams,” and “Imagine,” each containing themes of love and kindness.

To further emphasize the importance of kindness, the club actively participates in charity events in the community. According to club sponsor Mr. Payano, the club actively uses their music to spread their message of coming together for the greater good.

The concert represents a culmination of all the club’s hard work throughout the year in order to raise money for a good cause.

Last year, the club hosted an instrument drive for the Escuela de Música Cóbano in Costa Rica. This year, the proceeds from ticket sales will aid Yobelsey Benitez, a viola player in the same school’s orchestra.

She got a full ride scholarship to North Park University, but she comes from a very humble background and can’t afford ticket fare to get on the plane and international student fees,” Payano said. “We want to help her get set up; It is possible she may not be able to come study music without our help, and when she graduates she wants to go back to Central America so she can teach others what she has learned, so we are really passionate about helping her achieve that dream.”

With this year’s concert wrapped up, members of the Unity Club are looking forward to the future of their club, aspiring to broaden their horizons as far as their community outreach.

“We just want to amp up the way we can reach other people, not just high school students,” Payano said. “We have this ultimate goal of bringing different parts of society together and seeing ‘How can we, in this time that is very difficult and there’s a lot of pain and hate in the world, come together through music to make the world a better place?’”