5th Annual You Raise Me Up Concert Benefits Special Olympics Illinois!


 

By Daniel Smrokowski Founder of Special Chronicles

Athlete & Global Messenger for Special Olympics Illinois

WHEATON, Ill. — On Saturday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. athletes and volunteers from the western suburbs of Chicago flocked to College Church at 332 East Seminary Avenue for the fifth annual concert to benefit Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) Far West Suburban/ Area 2.

Five performers took to the stage during the 1-hour and 49-minute concert. Performers included: STARS of College Church, School of Rock of Glen Ellyn, Breanna Alyssa Bogucki, Village Vocal Chords and Beyond Glee.

Fellow Aquatics Athlete, Cole Swanstorm, greets attendees before the concert.

Fellow Aquatics Athlete, Cole Swanstorm, greets attendees before the concert. / Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

Daniel had a great time meeting with his fellow athletes and thanks everyone for their sport. Because of your support we can continue to compete year-around and can succeed during our competitions and in our personal lives.

As community members, volunteers, and athletes entered the church, they were greeted by ushers who are athletes in SOILL. Ushers included: Matthew Atchison, Robert Atchison, Ryan Rolinski, Cole Swanstrom, and Elijah Swanstorm.

The concert began with the singing (and signing) of our National Anthem.

If you missed the concert or were there and want to relive the great performances, you listen to (and download) the full audio that we recorded:

Play

Before each performer, a Global Messenger (spokesperson) for SOILL introduced each of the performers.

STARS of College Church took the stage as the first group of performers. Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

STARS of College Church took the stage as the first group of performers. Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

Introduced by Global Messenger, Grace Seiboldt, of Neuqua Valley High School, the STARS group took the stage to perform “Kum Ba Yah” and “Disney Dazzle.” According to literature from the concert, STARS is a musical group form one of the many ministries at College Church, which calls its individuals with disabilities STARS (Seeking To Always Reflect the Savior).

Jesse Feehan, Global Messenger from Wheaton District 200, introduced the next group of performers–the School of Rock of Glen Ellyn. This group have been an inspiring group of kids who rock on stage and in life for more than a decade. They were founded in Philadelphia in has grown to become an international franchise with 130 schools globally. As they take students from the lesson room to the stage they are developing both the confidence and musicianship of the students as they perform in front of live audiences.

Breanna Alyssa takes the stage to perform "Bubbly" and "I Was Born Yesterday" Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

Breanna Alyssa takes the stage to perform “Bubbly” and “I Was Born Yesterday” Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

Introduced by Zinyra Ross, Global Messenger from Waubonsie Valley High School, Our friend and guest podcaster on Special Chronicles, Breanna Alyssa Bogucki, 16, of Cary, Ill., took the stage. Breanna performed the songs “Bubbly” and then her own song “I Was Yesterday.” Breanna won first place in the Special Talents America competition in November 2012.

Breanna participates in four different Special Olympics sports throughout the year including volleyball, basketball, softball, and gymnastics. On March 22-23, she was among 22 other athletes who are now certified Global Messengers.

On June 19 and 20, Breanna will be performing at Olympic Town at the 2014 USA Games for Special Olympics in Princeton, New Jersey. Watch Breanna’s previous live performances right here on Special Chronicles.

Michelle Thompson, Global Messenger, took the stage to introduced our next group of performers. The Village Vocal Chords, of Glen Ellyn, are women’s barbershop croup that been been around since 1961. According to literature from the concert, they won 19 international contests and have word audiences with their “beautiful blend of voices in that ‘ringing chord’ that is barbershop.” Currently, they are international champions of Harmony, Inc., which is an international group of women barbershop singers.

Robert Atchison, 21, Global Messenger from Western DuPage Special Recreation (WDSRA) introduced the final performance group to take the stage. BEYOND GLEE is a performance based adult choral group that is sponsored by the Wheaton Park District. They sing songs from pop to classical to jazz and sacred (as well as everyone genre in between).

BEYOND GLEE was the final group to perform, including a humorous take to the song "Jambalya (On the Bayou)" / Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

BEYOND GLEE was the final group to perform, including a humorous take to the song “Jambalya (On the Bayou)” / Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

At this afternoon’s concert, they performed lots of upbeat songs including — “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” to “Beyond the Sea,” to “Under the BoardWalk.”

The BEYOND GLEE group concluded with a humorous performance of “Jambalaya (On the Bayou).” This summer the BEYOND GLEE group will be performing with the Wheaton Municipal Band in its Patriotic Concert on July 2. They also hope that you will make plans to attend their spring concert on Sunday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wheaton Community Concert. For more information and to purchase tickets, you can contact any member or the Wheaton Park District at 630-665-1415.

The concert concluded with all the groups singing the song “You Raise Me Up.” This song was chosen because all of us athletes are the inspiration for this benefit concert. According to one of the speakers, all of us thousands of Special Olympics Illinois athletes are raising up the volunteers and staff of Special Olympics every day.

All the groups performed the finale -- "You Raise Me Up" / Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

All the groups performed the finale — “You Raise Me Up” / Photo By Daniel Smrokowski

Daniel had a great time meeting with his fellow athletes and thanks everyone for their sport. Because of your support we can continue to compete year-around and can succeed during our competitions and in our personal lives.

The guest conductor was Dan James, the signer was Karolyn Johnson and the Special Olympics Display was done by Ben Brizzolara and Lisa Menichino.

Copyright 2014 By Special Chronicles NFP. All Rights Reserved.