Horizons Concert inspires and shows people hope

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Angela DeCarlo , Copy Editor

Fairy lights were strung around the entrance to the auditorium and posters with written messages of hope were hung on the doors, inviting participants into a world of peace and serenity. Soft music played in the auditorium as audience members slowly trickled in and found their seats.

I walked inside the auditorium, grabbed a program, and sat in my seat. The lights dimmed, and a video was projected onto a screen. The video, an intro from a 2012 To Write Love on Her Arms concert titled “Heavy and Light,” began to play. It was a simple series of words, but they were filled with meaning. It called the audience to put the past behind and start fresh. The video was a starting point, calling people to change themselves for the better. It acted like a horizon.

A horizon is a point where the dark meets the light. The video, and the Horizons Concert, were like points on an endless horizon. They serve to emphasize that there is a time in a person’s life when sadness could end and happiness could begin. The Horizons Concert, held to remind its audience that a  horizon exists, succeeded in reminding everyone that there is hope.

On March 21, senior Jessie Clingerman held the Horizons Concert to benefit the group To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) for her senior project. To see more about the concert, click here.

According to the TWLOHA mission statement, the group is “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” Additionally, the group “exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

Horizons was a night to inspire hope, spark conversation, and unite in song. And it did just that.

The concert contained four music groups, two testimonies, and one piece of poetry. Five JC students performed in the concert.

The talent from the musical groups was phenomenal. Each group performed acoustic covers and original music, complementing the concert’s themes of hope and serenity.

Sketchy Walrus, made of sophomores Conrad Gagnon and Lilly Stannard, senior Matt Wagner, and Calvert Hall junior Josh Miller, performed “Miserable Misery,” written by Stannard. The song was beautiful, telling of wanting to help someone through tough times.

Sophomore Avery van der Steur did an incredible job with his covers of “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and “Yesterday” by The Beatles.

The other musical groups, Angular Vibes and Cecilia Grace, were great as well. Angular Vibes performed a fantastic cover of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. Angular Vibes is a band of Messiah College student Chandler Adams, Calvert Hall senior Johnny Gossick, and Calvert Hall junior Pat Collins.

Sister group Cecilia Grace, made of 19-year-old Cecilia and 15-year-old Tessa Sugerman, did an amazing cover of “Fix You” by Coldplay, as well as stunning original songs.

Sarah Crimmins, a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, spoke of her struggles with Bipolar I Disorder and Mixed Mania, which caused her to have frantic periods of emotional highs and sluggish lows, as well as wild bouts of aggression and thoughts of suicide throughout most of her life. She spoke about how in her 30s she finally was able to manage her mental illness through various medications and how she finds the strength to continue every day.

Senior Megan Greig spoke about “mattering.” She talked of how she used to think that people who matter have a “thing” that they are good at or known for. Greig excelled at portraying her emotions and her steps to the realization that making one person happy is what makes you matter to the world, not having a particular talent.

I especially enjoyed Grieg’s speech on mattering. I’m constantly running around trying to complete a mile-long list of things to do in order to create an appealing college application. As a junior with college stress looming over my shoulders, Greig’s speech eased my stress and anxiety about the upcoming year.

Junior Charlotte Molali did a fantastic reading of the poem “Shake the Dust” by Anis Mojgani.

With 74 people attending the free concert and donations supporting To Write Love on Her Arms, I left the concert with a sense of fulfillment knowing my time and donations helped to educate about mental illnesses and care for those affected by them.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a great organization that works to end the demons that are plaguing people of all ages in America and around the world. I’m glad I had the opportunity to support its cause.

The concert itself was amazing. The musicians were talented and the speakers were inspiring. The music, poetry, and testimonies from all the performers truly did inspire hope, spark conversation, and unite the audience just as the concert was designed to do.

Angela DeCarlo is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.