DAVIDSON – Talented songwriters can transform tough times and bad situations into moving and meaningful messages. And in response to some unsettling late spring news, a close-knit collection of students at Community School of Davidson (CSD) did exactly that to display their feelings for an ailing classmate.

Uniting on short notice, 17 songwriters, musicians and singers with current and previous ties to CSD participated in a June 26 benefit concert. The showcase attracted a crowd of more than 100 and raised more than $4,000 to help CSD student Sophia Schatz and her family cope with expenses related to Sophia’s ongoing treatments for cancer.

Songs for Sophia was held at CSD’s Black Box Theater on Armour Street. The event came together in just a few weeks in an effort organized by Jackson Martin, a songwriter, musician and, since the second grade, a friend and CSD classmate of Sophia.

Music as a means

Martin, a rising senior, said late in the school year Sophia told some school friends she was having some medical issues and was scheduled for an exam. Martin said he was out watching a movie with friends – an event where Sophia usually would have been part of the group – when she called to deliver bad news.

“She called and told us it was cancer,” Martin said. “It was a shock.”

Sophia began a regiment of doctor visits while classmates faced the arrival of summer break dealing with uncertainty about their friend. Martin said he was on the way home from CSD’s commencement when the search for a way to support Sophia came into focus.

Martin said he was sharing ideas with CSD faculty member Matt Glass.

“I didn’t really know what we could do,” he said. “I was talking to Mr. Glass about trying to design a T-shirt or something we could sell to raise money, and the conversation turned to music.”

Martin said students in CSD’s songwriting program put on a showcase each year at school, and the idea of holding something similar as a benefit for Sophia evolved quickly.

“I started contacting people that night asking about their schedules sometime around the end of June,” Martin said. “I didn’t even have a date yet, but everybody was excited about being a part of it.”

The word spread through the CSD community. At the showcase, current and past CSD student musicians performed 16 songs. Students also set up a livestream system so Sophia, in Boston for treatment, was able to watch.

Admission for the showcase cost $5, but those in attendance could donate more.

“At the end of the night, we had more than $2,000,” Martin said, adding in the days afterward more donations came in. On June 29 he sent $4,300 to Sophia’s family.

When the show ended, performers and members of the audience came onstage to show Sophia, via the livestream, their support.

“It’s nice to be able to send the money, and I hope it helps Sophia and her family,” Martin said, “but I think letting her see how many people showed up – how many people were thinking about her – was the best part.”

Performers taking part in the showcase, in addition to Martin, were Caroline Knight, Ramsee Boone, Will Worsley, Christian Renaud, Tyler Lauro, Caleb Smith, Libby Helms, Ellie Marcus, Bridget Delaney, Nathaniel Ward, Coralie Steenhuyse, Isabel Clapham, JT Sutek, Jonah Staskel, Wilson MacIntyre and Noah Santos. Most are current CSD students, but several alumni returned to take part in the show. CSD middle-schoolers provided music during intermission.


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