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Musicians sought for concert to benefit infants born addicted to opioids

Gazette-Mail file photo
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra of the Hills performs a flood relief show at Haddad Riverfront Park on July 30, 2016.

An August concert aims to help infants born addicted to opioids.

The Orchestra of the Hills and Chorus benefit concert is in its second year. This year’s event, sponsored by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia State University and the CAMC Foundation, will raise money to help the hospital’s foundation.

“We all agreed the opioid addiction crisis has to be front and center in everyone’s mind,” said Scott Woodward, the interim associate provost at West Virginia State and conductor of this year’s concert. “It’s a devastating thing, particularly in West Virginia.”

The symphony and West Virginia State partnered with the CAMC Foundation to ensure donations from the concert directly affected mothers and children born addicted to opioids.

“If we could do something to impact them through the power of music, then we would be doing a good thing,” Woodward said.

Bryan Cummings, a development officer with the CAMC Foundation, said the hospital sees the “massive need” in the community.

“I think we’re all aware of the epidemic that’s occurring with opioids and opioid addiction,” Cummings said. “But being a freestanding hospital specifically for women and children, we see expectant mothers that need assistance, and we see babies born after the fact that are going through the withdrawal process.”

Donations from the concert will help mothers and babies who are addicts or recovering opioid addicts through programming and medical assistance.

“We like to be a part of the community and do our part,” said Pamela Dickerscheid, a development associate for the symphony. “Not only to make West Virginia a more beautiful place to live, but also to help meet some of the challenges we have in this state. With the flood, it was such a need, that was a no-brainer, and I think the same is true for this year’s benefit when we have a population that is struggling. And we want to do what we can to make West Virginia a better place.”

Last year’s concert featured more than 100 local musicians and raised $15,000 to benefit three high school music programs affected by the June 2016 flood.

“We were just looking for someway to continue that tradition,” Dickerscheid said. “When we saw the need the state has to help these babies, we just decided that was where we wanted to put our efforts this year.”

The concert is recruiting local orchestra musicians and singers to volunteer their talent.

“Essentially we’re just trying to get singers and musicians to come together to present this concert to benefit the opioid addicted babies,” Dickerscheid said.

Dickerscheid said the performance will mix members of the WVSO and community members to include musicians and singers of all skills and talents.

Orchestra and choir members who wish to participate can contact Karlene Slaughter before July 23 at 304-766-3191 or orchestraofthehills@wvsta teu.edu.

The indoor concert will be held at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at Christ Church United Methodist at 1221 Quarrier St. in Charleston. Entry is by donation, which will go to the CAMC Foundation and benefit babies born to addicted mothers.

Reach Kayla Asbury at

kayla.asbury@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-3051 or follow

@kasbury on Twitter.

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