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Benefit concert changes lives of Gibbs singers

"Sing for the Cure" looks into the lives of those affected by breast cancer.

Published May 13, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - The idea hit Derek Weston as he performed last year at Carnegie Hall with Una Voce: The Florida Men's Chorale.

The group was in the midst of a moving program that addresses finding a cure for cancer.

"As I was standing on the stage with the group, I was basically planning our own. I was thinking we needed to perform this work, " said Weston, director of choral studies at Gibbs High School's Pinellas County Center for the Arts.

Last weekend, about 110 high school singers and orchestra members, along with 25 Una Voce members, performed "Sing for the Cure" at Gibbs.

The two-day show raised more than $7, 200 for the fight against breast cancer. The money will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer.

"Sing for the Cure" is a 10-movement narrated concert dedicated to people who have been affected by the disease: victims, survivors, families and friends.

The preparation and performance had an impact on the young musicians, Weston said.

"It changed their lives, " he said.

"A lot of young people don't think about the seriousness of a disease as deadly as breast cancer can be. By singing about the various perspectives that "Sing for the Cure" provided, they're able to get a better understanding of the emotions, and the seriousness of the disease, " said Weston, who is also artistic director for the men's chorale.

The work originally was commissioned in 2000 by the Turtle Creek Chorale and the Women's Chorus of Dallas, under the direction of Timothy Seelig.

Seelig conducted the Carnegie Hall performance and attended one of the Gibbs performances.

"There was such a sense of community on the stage. We were there with one unified message, " Weston said.

[Last modified May 12, 2007, 19:31:43]

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