by Zee Khalid Barstow's music event of the season also has a heart.
Smithfest is an annual music event hosted by Robert Smith, senior Sam Smith’s father. The evening took place at their house, with an enormous tent set up in the backyard and a buffet consisting mainly of salad, pizza, and sodas among other snacks. Tiki torches lay sprinkled around the property, mixing with the music and conversation to create a warm, vibrant atmosphere as the sun set. The high-quality technology was impressive and exceeded expectations for an independently organized event – two hired cameramen filmed the entire concert, audio speakers were posted at each support column, and a proper stage overlooked the audience as Rob’s singing drove the evening. People of all ages attended, from adults to high schoolers to little children.
Mountain Town, a band of Barstow students, opened for the event. Jia’s voice and humorous stalling between songs pushed Smithfest into motion, supported by Luke Daniel and Oscar Stack on guitar, Angela Deng on the piano, Ian MacIvor on the drums, and Meghana Lakkireddy on the bass guitar. They showed great confidence and created a fun vibe.
Rob then brought to the stage a man named Ibrahima. Ibrahima had traveled to KC from Mali, one of the most impoverished countries in the world. In 2010, he started teaching boys and girls who lacked the opportunity to pursue an education. He worked as a translator, fluent in French, Bambara, and English, earning an annual income of $1,500 to pay the teachers that began helping his cause. Through this job, Ibrahima was introduced to Josh and Josie from the United States, who were in Mali on a medical mission trip, and connected him to a doctor. This doctor invited him to the United States to start a non-profit organization called Grace Private School, which supported the students. Since its inception in 2012, this organization has raised funds to construct nine classrooms and a well, which provides fresh water year-round a region which lacked water as a result of the scorching Sahara desert. This school has grown steadily over the years and now teaches over 400 children. To raise funds for Ibrahima and his students, Smithfest sold their own merchandise and took donations.
Barstow’s upper school students, mainly seniors, had a relaxing night hanging out on the Smith house’s front porch. Conversation, jokes, and glow-stick wars with the younger kids created great memories that seniors will carry with them into college. The only regret that many people had was not attending Smithfest in previous years.