Beyond their borders: Local young musicians join together to raise money for education in Africa
SHEPHERDSTOWN – Many community members and visitors to Shepherdstown donated a dollar or two to a group of three sisters Saturday afternoon, as they performed bluegrass and folk tunes for over an hour in front of the War Memorial Building.
What those who donated to the trio probably didn’t know is that half of the trio’s busking profits this summer won’t be used to pay for music lessons. They’ll be sent to Africa, to help pay for four Cameroonian girls’ high school education.
Attending high school in Cameroon is not only expensive, but it is also be a challenge for these girls, who will have to travel from their small town, Kolofata, to the nation’s capital, Yaounde, to attend a girls’ high school.
“It’s only $1,000 a year for them to go to school. We feel we can even make a contribution with a couple hundred bucks,” said the trio’s mother, Teace Noel, of Shepherdstown.
Teace said the family recently learned about the education need through a friend in the Peace Corps and their church, St. Agnes Catholic Church.
This was the trio’s first time playing in public together, although the oldest member of the group, St. James Catholic School senior Lily Noel, has played violin for years in Shepherd’s youth orchestra and at O’Hurley’s General Store during the store’s weekly Heritage Music Jam. Her homeschooled two younger sisters, 13-year-old Sabina Noel on the flute and 12-year-old Veronica Noel on the guitar, picked up their instruments more recently, but drew their confidence in performing from their older sister.
Teace said she was excited to see her children working together to raise money for the girls, and hopes the trio will continue to play together for many years to come.
“They’re having fun and raising money for those girls. I hope they will, in the future, continue to play together, even if it’s for their own enjoyment,” Teace said, mentioning the family is a musical family, and all three kids were started on piano before they chose to change instruments.
Teace views busking as a form of community service, and a good learning experience for her daughters.
“Music is good for their brains, good for their souls, good for their wallets and good for the community,” Teace said.