Juno-nominated artists Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther of DALA will be returning to their alma mater to headline a fundraising concert in support of Lifeline Syria. Photo courtesy of DALA

Mary Ward school sings for Syria

By 
  • October 16, 2015

TORONTO - Juno-nominated folk duo DALA is returning to its alma mater in hope of raising $30,000 for Lifeline Syria.

The duo is taking part in Songs for Syria concert Oct. 23 at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School, where DALA members Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther first met.

Carabine said like many people she has been following news about the crisis in Syria over the past couple of years.

When her brother, Michael, approached her with the idea for a fundraising concert, the duo jumped at the chance to help their school community.
“When the idea of the concert came about, it was something we could do as a community,” said Carabine. “Amanda and I are just thrilled to be able to contribute in a meaningful way.”

Michael, who is a music teacher at Mary Ward, is organizing the concert with fellow teacher Mark Morra. Initially, the concert was going to be headlined by Morra and Michael’s own staff band, Conditional Zero. When they decided to expand the reach to include the student body and their famous alumni, the event gained momentum.

“The response has been enormous,” said Michael. “We have a really caring community (at Mary Ward). We got a huge amount of staff come forward to volunteer... We have a number of student acts.”

Many alumni have come forward to contribute to the event as well. City TV news anchor Tom Hayes will also be there as the host of the concert.
Morra said that although the fundraiser is a great way to engage the school community in global social justice, he believes that, as educators, they also need to do more to make sure that the students understand the issues being raised.

“Doing the one-time fundraiser is great, but it might not necessarily educate people,” said Morra. “I think part of education goes beyond the textbook... We’re trying to challenge the students to be globally aware and to be conscious on what is the right thing to do and education is the first part.”

On Oct. 13, Mary Ward’s student body gathered for a 30-minute presentation about the Syrian crisis in the last four years and what the money raised at the concert will do to make a difference.

“When Jesus said to everyone love your neighbour as yourself, people asked Him who is my neighbour and that’s when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan,” said Morra. “Samaritans were people of a different ethnicity, a different race... If we’re going to be active participants in the global community, then teachers need to take the lead on this and show students what it means to be globally active and politically active.”

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