Benefit concert strikes a sweet chord for MusicalMinds NC
Friday, Mar. 21, 2014

Benefit concert strikes a sweet chord for MusicalMinds NC

    Students from the MusicalMinds NC program at Blythe Elementary School, performing here, took part in Rachel Dyl’s fundraiser for the after-school program.
    Rachel Dyl of Davidson, a senior at Cannon School in Concord, hosted a benefit concert called “An Evening with the Beatles” and raised $11,000 for MusicalMinds NC.

A deep love of music and a desire to help children inspired Rachel Dyl of Davidson, a senior at Cannon School in Concord, to organize a benefit for MusicalMinds NC.

The event raised more than $11,000 from event sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and a live auction.

Dyl organized “An Evening with the Beatles” for a sold-out house Feb. 28 at River Run Country Club. The program kicked off with performances by three violinists from Blythe Elementary School: Ulices Garcia, Madelyn Mundy and Nadia Glenn.

Adding to the evening of music were Cannon School’s a cappella choral groups, The Gentlemen and The Cannon Bells; The Cannon Jazz Combo; 7 String Theory, an electric string ensemble; pianist Cynthia Lawing; violinist Eduardo Cedeño; and guitarist and singer Katherine Sherrill.

Dyl capped the evening with a classical piano performance, then led the grand finale: an audience singalong of the Beatles’ classic “Hey Jude.”

“Music is an important part of my life,” said Dyl, who began taking piano lessons at age 6 and violin lessons at 8. “In my freshman year, I organized a small benefit concert to raise money for A Child’s Place. So when it became time to plan my senior project, I immediately thought of organizing another concert.”

She learned about MusicalMinds NC when her church, Davidson United Methodist, donated violins to the organization.

A project of the Lake Norman Kiwanis Club, MusicalMinds NC is a free after-school program designed to open up the world of music to children who otherwise might not be exposed to it.

According to its website, its founders hope to inspire children with classical music instruction that gets at-risk and high-need children out of their environment for a while and teaches them team and leadership skills. It’s modeled after El Sistema, a music education program that began in Venezuela in 1975.

MusicalMinds NC’s outreach includes 25 children in first through fourth grades at Blythe Elementary School in Huntersville.

“Rachel came to us and said she wanted to do something,” said Tim Huber, a founding member of MusicalMinds NC and its acting executive director. “We’ve only been organized for two years. We’ve had a couple of other fundraisers, but this was definitely the biggest we’ve done.

“This got us going with money and exposure,” Huber said. “We helped raise money through ticket sales and sponsors. She and her mother did the venue, the food and just about everything else. She was amazing.

“We pretty much rely on the community to raise money. We wouldn’t have had any of it if she hadn’t decided this what she wanted to do,” said Huber, adding that Dyl’s efforts will help MusicalMinds NC continue its mission.

“We have a lot more need. We need more instruments and more instructors,” said Huber. The organization hopes to hire a full-time executive director, offer the program at more elementary schools and possibly create a summer program, he said.

“We’d like to try to keep this going through high school,” he added.

He said the program could help keep kids focused on staying in school.

Besides her support of MusicalMinds, Dyl participates in the school orchestra, plays soccer, has a job and is involved in church activities. She plans to attend Denison University in Ohio, where she will play soccer and also intends to join a few music ensembles, as well as continuing private music lessons.

Dyl said she would like to study political science and international relations, but possibly minor in music, too.

She gives a lot of credit to MusicalMinds NC, her mother and friends, the performers and everyone who contributed to make the evening such a great success.

“I’m so glad that I got to work with MusicalMinds,” said Dyl. “Maybe this will help them expand to other schools so more kids can participate. For some children, this could be the only way they have to express themselves.”

Carole Howell is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Carole? Email her at

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