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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

Mixing music with morals

A community service trip to Guanajuato, Mexico, a year ago cheered up Three Minute Mile guitarist Jason Kotynski, inspiring him to add an optimistic hook to the tune "Last Song."\nHe began that spring break fighting writer's block and feeling depressed because he didn't know where his life was headed. He left Mexico hugging and kissing the elderly women he'd met while volunteering at a nursing home.\nKotynski, a senior, says he hopes to teach other students about the benefits of volunteerism through his music. To do just that, Community Outreach and Partnerships in Service Learning (COPSL) is sponsoring the Bloomington Benefit Concert, mixing information about community service agencies with local bands, visual art and poetry. \nKotynski's band, Laborius Clef and Blue Moon Revue will each play hour-long sets and give away CDs tonight at Willkie Residence Hall Auditorium from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Artists from local volunteer agencies will display about 20 paintings and drawings, while poets will read between sets.\nBlue Moon Revue will kick off the music with its funky, soul rock. Laborius Clef will follow with a high-energy mix of jazz, funk, rock and hip-hop. Three Minute Mile will close the concert with original rock. Kotynski says he's been toiling over writing a song about community awareness for the show.\n"I'd like to model a socially conscious band," Kotynski says. "This is our last year in Bloomington, so hopefully the Bloomington music scene can be very socially conscious."\nThe idea for the Bloomington Benefit Concert was spawned by Laborius Clef drummer Rory Sandhage, who contacted the other two bands about playing an all-ages concert together. \n"We all rock pretty hard. We're all high-energy bands. It's very logical in my mind that we're playing together," says Sandhage, a senior.\nKotynski brainstormed the idea of performing a non-profit concert that showcases community service. An ACE (Advocates for Community Engagement, representatives from COPSL who help volunteers at local agencies), Kotynski works with Banneker Center, which offers a basketball program, homework help, book reading, cooking classes, tae kwon do and other activities for local children.\nKotynski and fellow band member Mike Stocksdale met and began songwriting when they roomed together at Willkie as freshmen. The 400-seat auditorium wasn't their first choice, but ended up being cheap to rent and close to underclassmen, Kotynski admits.\n"Something that I want people to leave with is that they can do something to affect the world," Sandhage says. "Any little bit can go a long way. We hope everyone can help out even if it's a couple minutes a day."\nPoets, including a few from the Center for Environmental Sustainability and the Shalom Community Center, will read between sets and display their work. Some poems might address social issues such as social justice, gender and Sept. 11.\n"It's a good idea to insert poetry because I think so many things are lost when you present art in music," says sophomore Stephanie Solomon, an ACE with Bloomington Environmental Center. "Music, visual art and poetry would give us an all-around way to bring people. With poetry, they can hear about social issues that the agencies there stand for."\nLisa Miller, a junior and ACE with the Boys and Girls Club, says she might display as many as 10 two-dimensional pieces. Her artwork includes photography, pencil sketches and ink drawings. Although she hasn't incorporated social messages into her portfolio, the children from the club have. Some of their pastel and crayon work involves patriotic messages, including depictions of an American flag. \nMiller says the art will get attendees in touch with potential clients. Students can sign up for flexible volunteer hours at the Boys and Girls Club for tutoring, helping with computer classes, overseeing art contests and holiday projects, Miller says.\n"Our concern is to really attract freshmen and sophomores who are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their time," says senior Beth Hannon, a COPSL representative. "We'll do that with music and poetry on campus."\nAdmission is $3, or $2 with a canned food item, which would be donated to Hoosier Hills Food Bank, or with an article of clothing, which would be donated to Shalom Community Center. \nHannon says the money will be donated among these two agencies and five others offering information at the event -- Boys and Girls Club, Banneker Community Center, Girls Inc., Monroe County School Corporation and Bloomington Environmental Center.\nACEs will hand out brochures and speak about events, fundraising, donations and volunteering. Service opportunities include tutoring students learning English, working at a soup kitchen, playing basketball with kids at the Banneker Center and painting with girls at Girls Inc.\nAttendees can also learn about service-learning classes that link community service with academic work available each semester through registration at IU. Most of the classes award three credits, with the chance for additional credits if volunteer hours are completed. Seventeen service-learning classes are available next semester.\n"Alternative spring breaks," like the one that inspired Kotynski, are also offered, and students traveled to Washington, D.C., South Bend, Guanajuato and Arkansas two weeks ago.\nThose who have their admission tickets stamped at every display can enter a raffle. Three Minute Mile and Blue Moon Revue will give away CDs and T-shirts to raffle winners during the middle and end of the concert.\nHannon says she hopes the benefit concert becomes an annual event, but that depends on tonight's turnout. She says she hopes 300 people show up.\n"As far as music goes, this is the purpose music should be for: inspiring people," Kotynski says. "Kind of like how U2 performed at the Super Bowl. I was breaking into tears. Maybe I didn't get enough sleep, but that was incredible."\nFor more information, contact Community Outreach and Partnerships in Service Learning at 856-6011 or

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