ACMO to perform benefit concert for Sandy Hook

Dan Lancellotti
Arts & Culture Editor

Members made special t-shirts for the benefit show.
Members made special t-shirts for the benefit show.

A small group gathered into a circle as Director Johnny Guignet started his count. They quickly sang “Amazing Grace” and were clearly pressed for time. They would only be able to do two rehearsals until the Sandy Hook Benefit Concert, but the group looked well prepared. According to Sarah Ward, ACMO’s first rehearsal on the ninth went really well, and it showed in their second rehearsal.
Over winter break ACMO board members Seth Sponhouse, and Amy Ward began to talk about setting up another benefit concert. Usually in the summer the board will pick an organization to donate to. This year they chose Toys for Tots, which they did in the winter, and were able to donate $300. After the Sandy Hook shooting in December, members of the board wanted to do a benefit concert because of how personal the tragedy felt for them.
“Many of us here are Education majors,” said Sponhouse.
ACMO made the announcement and the tryouts began on the first week of classes over back from winter break. Usually the music is prepared for the performers and they work from there. Since this concert is a special circumstance, they will be able to pick their own piece. This could work out well as it allows them to pick something that they feel strong in or feel passionate about.
ACMO member Sarah Ward will be singing “Nothing Stops Another Day” from Ghost: The Musical and “For Good” from Wicked. Ward was enthusiastic about the coming performance and the future of ACMO in general.
“ACMO does a lot of good things, and we are continuing to grow.”

Marissa Leo, Seth Sponhouse, and Emily Weaver warm up during an ACMO rehearsal.
Marissa Leo, Seth Sponhouse, and Emily Weaver warm up during an ACMO rehearsal.

The organization is under some strain because of how last minute the concert idea was. Normally they get a couple months in the summer to plan everything out. Johnny Guigent wanted to direct the performance and Stormy Hayes wanted to be the Assistant Director. Guigent took charge of the room immediately as he had everyone’s attention. He was confident about what he wanted but was also able to take suggestions and make adjustments as needed. While the group rehearsed Hayes sat at a desk working on the program for the show on her laptop.
“It’s my job to oversee all the details and keep everything organized,” said Hayes.
She deals with the casting, posters, programs, and just helps out the director in general. She is an education major who feels a personal connection with the Sandy Hook tragedy and she hopes that people come out to see the show.
The money will be donated to the organization Random Acts of Kindness and will help out the families that were affected by the Sandy Hook shootings. The performance will be at Dutcher Hall at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 23rd.