Music can feed the soul, and a group of Tucson Symphony Orchestra musicians hopes it can also feed students at an impoverished grade school in Haiti.
On Saturday, TSO principals Steven Moeckel, Alexander Lipay and Ed Reed will join a few of their orchestra colleagues in a concert to raise money for the the Ecole de la Grace de Caneille (School of Grace of Caneille) lunch program. The two-year-old school in Haiti was started by an 18-year-old American high school student from Wisconsin.
TSO cellist Tom Clowe organized the benefit, which is not affiliated with the orchestra. The school's founder, Oliver Zornow, was a student at Clowe's father-in-law's charter school in Appleton, Wis., and started the school as part of his senior project.
The school opened in September 2006 with 154 pupils in first through third grades. The pupils range in age from 6 to 19; most of them have never had an opportunity to learn the basics to advance beyond first grade, according to Zornow's nonprofit group, the Caneille Regional Development Fund.
Clowe said 100 percent of the proceeds from Saturday's concert will go to buy beans and rice for the school, which operates on $500 a month to pay a principal, three teachers and supplies.
Clowe said he had no problem persuading his TSO colleagues to join his efforts.
"It's been a lot of fun for everyone," he said. "For me it's refreshing to do chamber music where I have a unique voice, rather than being one of eight or nine. As chamber musicians we're collectively filling the role of conductor, making our own musical decisions about where we want to take the piece, which is also nice."
The program includes Astor Piazzolla's "Four Seasons in Buenos Aires"; Heiter Villa-Lobos' "The Jet Whistle"; and Jose Ursicino da Silva's little-played "Brazilian Fantasia."
They also will perform works by two Haitian composers — a trio by pre-eminent composer Werner Jaegerhuber and the U.S. premieres of two string quartets by Julio Racine.
Saturday's concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St. Admission is a $12 donation. For details, call Clowes at 319-0165.