Benefit concert Saturday for domestic violence victims

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SALISBURY — Prompted by a school project, local student George Mobley has found a way to combine his passion for music with compassion for others.
The senior at Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer will hold a concert Saturday night to benefit the Family Crisis Council of Rowan County.
Donated money and items will go toward helping those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Gray Stone students are required to put together a community service project to graduate. In their senior year, they also must write a research paper and give presentations related to their projects.
“I really liked this idea, because it supports a good cause while showcasing a lot of well-known local performers,” Mobley said. “It brings the community together, and it applies to what I want to do in my future as a profession.”
The benefit concert will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the parish hall of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at 130 W. Council St. in downtown Salisbury.
It will feature performances by local musicians, including Mobley himself playing guitar and piano, jazz musician Marc Hoffman, guitarist David Edwards, guitarist Justin Dionne and the Salisbury-Rowan Choral Society.
Admission is free, but people are encouraged to bring donations for Family Crisis Council. Donors can give cash or bring certain items for the agency’s emergency shelter.
“Even if they don’t have anything to donate or don’t feel comfortable donating, it’s just a fun event to come out and see,” he said.
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Mobley said his mother, Rhonda, helped him come up with the idea last September. She works at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which shares office space with Family Crisis Council.
Linda Coplin, the agency’s community engagement coordinator, asked Rhonda one day if she knew a guitar player who could perform at a candlelight vigil.
“She said, ‘Yeah, my son,’ ” Coplin said, laughing.
A little later, Rhonda saw Coplin in the hallway and suggested that George put on a benefit concert for her organization as his senior project. Coplin welcomed the opportunity.
“I love it when volunteers can take what they are passionate about, like George and his love for music, and use it to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” she said. “That’s a beautiful combination.”
Coplin said she will attend the Saturday event to answer questions people may have about the agency.
Mobley said he wanted to put on a benefit concert for a while, but he didn’t know which organization to support.
He didn’t know much about Family Crisis Council’s work until last October, when he performed at the vigil on the steps of the county courthouse. The purpose of the vigil was to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence, as well as to celebrate those who advocate for their rights.
“During that service, hearing some of the stories about the victims and just listening to what they do, in terms of what these women need, was very powerful,” Mobley said. “Salisbury, or any town or city, should be aware of the effects of domestic violence on families and individuals.”
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Once Mobley knew his goal, he had to start planning for it.
He and his mother both agree — that isn’t usually his strong suit.
“I had concerns at the beginning, because he’s a very relaxed personality, so sometimes it takes him a while to get going,” Rhonda Mobley said. “But I think he’s done a really good job.”
First, Mobley sought out a venue for the event. He quickly found one when the Rev. Whayne Hougland, pastor at St. Luke’s, offered the church’s parish hall.
The normally quiet, reserved student then reached out to other musicians he knows to build a lineup.
As a member of the Salisbury-Rowan Choral Society, he arranged for them to perform at the concert. His guitar and piano teachers, Edwards and Hoffman, also both agreed to perform.
Mobley said he learned the importance of getting the details right when a scheduling conflict caused one musician to back out.
But that musician was able to refer Mobley to Dionne, a guitar player and vocalist, who took his place in the lineup.
Once the date, time, location and performers were set, Mobley’s next step was to promote the event.
“I’ve been learning to find places to post flyers, passing them out at churches and finding places to get this recognized so we can have an audience,” he said.
He said with each step he has taken to organize the concert, he has learned a lot about coordinating an event, taking initiative and paying attention to details.
“It’s also giving me the chance to learn public speaking, because I’m going to have to present it in front of a board of judges, essentially, and talk about what I’ve done,” Mobley said.
When he isn’t calling musicians or applying to colleges, Mobley has been working on a research paper for his project. It’s about the history of domestic violence, how it has changed and its impact on the world today.
“I think it’s a real interesting topic, but it’s definitely taken a lot of work,” he said.
Rhonda Mobley said she thinks her son is getting valuable practice for college.
“It’s a good experience for him, I think, to learn how to communicate and how to organize things and learn time management,” she said.
Helen Nance, chief administration officer at Gray Stone, said Mobley’s concert is a great example of what the school encourages for its service projects.
“We tell students to try to find a passion and be able to connect it with their interests, and then it’s a whole lot more fun and easier to do the project,” Nance said. “What I want them to learn from this is that they can do something for somebody else.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.