ABC scholars honor Mandela at I Dream a World concert

For six years, A Better Chance (ABC) of Wilton has presented the I Dream a World concert with the help of Adrienne Reedy.

Not only is Ms. Reedy the creator and producer of the annual concert, she is also ABC of Wilton’s fund-raising and events coordinator and a contemporary Christian gospel artist.

“My responsibilities for the concert will be to oversee everything,” she said, “and this year I get to perform, which is what I really like to do the most.”

This year’s sixth annual I Dream a World concert is Sunday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in the Clune Center at Wilton High School on Danbury Road.

Approximately 125 people will be involved in the show, including 13 ABC scholars, the Middlebrook School Choir, Breakout Gospel Choir from Stamford, and special guest composer Rollo Dilworth, who will conduct the Middlebrook School I Dream a World choir.

There will be a Middlebrook Junior Artist exhibition in the Zellner Gallery, where ABC scholar

and photographer Lia Tavarez will also have an exhibition, and her original pieces will be auctioned.

With the name and overall theme of the event inspired by Langston Hughes’ “I Dream a World” poem, Ms. Reedy said, she first started the concert as a result of Barack Obama’s election into office as the first African-American president.

This year’s concert will include a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died Dec. 5.

ABC scholars Zourry Jarvis, Darvin Molina and Zachary Melo worked together to create the slide show tribute to the late former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary.

“The slide show will have pictures of Mandela during different stages of his life and pictures of how he affected people after his life,” said Zourry.

During the slide show, Ms. Reedy said, some of the ABC scholar girls, including Adriana Deonarine, who said she is most looking forward to the music at the event, will dance to traditional South African music.

Adriana will also emcee at the concert, along with fellow ABC scholar Jean Robert “JR” Bonhomme.

ABC scholars Essence Williams, Rey Lebron and Raphael Mettle will read poems, while others, including Jean Pierre “JP” Clarke and Monei Walker, will sing.

“Pastor Arnold Thomas and I will be performing a duet,” said Ms. Reedy, “and my son Quinn will also be singing a duet with Monei.”

In addition to her duet with Pastor Thomas, of Wilton Congregational Church, Ms. Reedy will sing a song she wrote called Yes We Can with the Middlebrook School Choir.

“I’m excited about doing Yes We Can because I performed that song with the choir two years ago,” said Ms. Reedy.

“Those kids are now in eighth grade and they requested that we do the song again, and that made me very happy.”

Wilton High School junior Rebecca Nisco has participated in previous I Dream a World concerts and asked Ms. Reedy if she could perform again this year.

Rebecca said she loves being involved with the concert because of the ABC scholars.

“I love all the ABC scholars and I think the ABC program is great,” said Rebecca. “The I Dream a World concerts bring new hope, fresh faces and fresh energy.”

Last year, Rebecca sang a song she wrote called Finding My Path. This year she will perform another original piece, called Butterflies.

“I wrote it for one of my mom’s students who had cancer. I wrote it to make her feel better,” she said.

“I think the song would be perfect for the concert because it’s about hope, and that’s what the ABC program is about.”

A number of songs will be performed during the concert, including Mr. Dilworth’s I Dream a World, Justice and Hand in Hand.

Middlebrook art teacher Susan LaBarbera said Hand in Hand was a song students asked to be played while they created their artwork for the I Dream a World junior artist exhibition.

“After reading Langston Hughes’ ‘I Dream a World’ and reading passages from ‘The Dream Keeper,’ the sixth and seventh graders worked on their artwork,” said Ms. LaBarbera.

“For three to four classes, they worked to create images that portray and support the ABC program’s message and the concert’s theme.”

Ms. Reedy said weather has always been her biggest challenge when it comes to the I Dream a World concerts.

“Every year that we have put on this concert, there’s been a blizzard, like a day or two before, and I always wonder if there’s really going to be a concert,” she said.

Despite weather concerns, Ms. Reedy said, turnout has never really been a problem.

“We never had a sellout show, but I know we’ll have a decent turnout — we always do,” she said.

Tickets for this year’s I Dream a World concert are $25 for adults, $10 for children, and may be ordered on ABC of Wilton’s website: abcwilton.org.