Pine Crest’s Student Performers Play for Change


[ot-caption title=” Junior Rodrigo Torrejon sings at last year’s Playing for Change concert while senior Brett Koolik plays the piano (via Ginger Hollander, Alumni ’16).”]

Check your schedule for Wednesday, September 28 because Pine Crest’s biannual charity concert, Playing for Change, is in Stacy Auditorium at 6:00 PM. Even though Homecoming Week can be hectic with stream of events and dress-up days to plan, the student-run show is an opportunity for students of all grades to come together and support each others’ musical talents, while helping charity and boosting grade spirit points too. The show costs $5 and all proceeds go to a local charity, Funding Broward Arts.

“The charity we have selected this year, Funding Broward Arts, is a group dedicated to ensuring that arts programs in Broward County and public schools are not shut down due to budget cuts,” senior Juliette Pozzuoli said.

Juliette Pozzuoli is the co-chair of Playing for Change with junior Noa Weiner. Pozzuoli and Weiner will be returning to the stage this year and already know the ropes since they have participated in Playing for Change for the last few years.

A key feature of the Playing for Change is that the night is entirely run by the student body. The live performances allow the artists to change or mashup songs and make them their own. In the entire concert, there are no prerecorded tracks. All of the singers either play their own music or have a band playing with them which gives performers the freedom to change up the music of the song because they aren’t stuck with the exact track.

“We tried to find a song that Jodie [Kahan] says ‘is not boring’ by making sure it has an interesting harmony,” senior Henri Vrod said. “We are doing a mashup between ‘FourFiveSeconds’ by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCaretney and ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ by The Proclaimers. In order for our voices to fit pop songs better, we usually slow the tempo down to make them more soulful and change the key to let me show off my falsetto while letting Jodie’s alto shine.”

Vrod has been teaming up with his fellow senior Jodie Kahan for Playing for Change since freshmen year. Last year, they added math teacher Mr. Spitzig and senior Jackie Procacci to their band that was formerly known as Beginning of July, but they now call Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. The biannual event has many regulars including junior Rodrigo Torrejon.

Playing for Change provides an outlet where I can perform songs of different genres than I normally wouldn’t sing,” Torrejón said. “This event provides a great opportunity for a performer to do what they want in front of such a heartwarming crowd filled with familiar faces cheering them on.”

Torrejón has been performing in Playing for Change since his freshman year and has consistently wowed audiences with his amazing range and unique tone. He has also sang in the choir, the annual Multicultural Assembly, many Pine Crest sports events, and other performances as well.

In addition to having great performers, Playing For Change always has comedic emcees to fill the time while the crew is changing the stage between acts. For the past two years, Phil Swart kept audiences laughing but now that he graduated, seniors Jake Lieberfarb and Anastasia Golovkine will fill his shoes.

“I’m excited to be working with Jake because he’s a really funny guy and has great stage presence,” Golovkine said. “I think our personalities mesh well. I love Playing for Change because it’s really interesting to see people from different grades and even teachers can come together to make cool performances.”

New emcees isn’t the only change. While in the past Playing for Change has benefited charities like United Cerebral Palsay and Girl Up, this year all of the money will be donated to organizations dedicated to the arts.

Make sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, September 28, at 6:00 PM to cheer on your peers in Stacy Auditorium. The music is energetic and you can support Broward County’s art programs while helping your grade win the Spirit Stick.