Funk Concert to Raise Money for Kenyan School

As a member of St. Lawrence University's Laurentian Singers, Allison (Ally) Baier ’14 was looking forward to the musical group’s annual tour. This year would have taken the group to Kenya, where St. Lawrence has hosted a study abroad program since 1974.

In preparation for the trip, the University’s Leadership Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), which Ally is also president, was planning to host a fundraiser to help raise money for the Red Rose School in Kenya. Founded by former McCurdy-Sprague Trustee Kenneth Okoth ’01, the Red Rose School sponsors and supports student education in Kibera, a large slum neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya.

However, the tour has since been postponed, according to Director of Music Ensembles Barry Torres, due to the Westgate Mall attack in September in Nairobi, Kenya.

“We were going to visit the Red Rose School and meet Ken, who was also a former Laurentian Singer himself,” said Ally, of Bow, N.H. “We wanted to raise money for Ken’s school and specifically for musical instruments for the students.”

In 2011, Ally completed a Tanner Fellowship and had conducted her research in music therapy at an orphanage in Ghana. That’s when she experienced how music can change children’s lives.

“I experienced first-hand the power of music in healing, making connections and providing children with a positive outlet thereby encouraging them to stay in school,” she said.

While the Laurentian Singers' tour might have been put on hold, the benefit concert will go on as planned. Ally and her ODK colleagues have teamed up with with the SLU Funk Band and the Association for College Entertainment (A.C.E.) to host a benefit concert for the Red Rose School.

“Ken informed us that the school is really in need of money for basic school supplies,” Ally said. “We’re hoping that perhaps this concert could become an annual event and we can eventually help Ken and his school develop a creative arts program for the kids.”

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 in Eben Holden. The event is free and open to St. Lawrence students as well as the general public. Cash donations will be accepted at the door, or students can donate using their Community-Wide Account (CWA).

For more information, contact the St. Lawrence University Music Department at 315-229-5166 or visit

To find out more about Red Rose School visit