ANDOVER — As many youth services participants campaign to raise money to build a new youth center in town, they are also working to help build classrooms for an African school thousands of miles away.
Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey said AYS has partnered with the Margaret Okari School in the village of Kisii, Kenya, for the past two years and is now working to raise funds to build high school classrooms there.
The Okari School is a boarding school for children, ages 5 through 17, many of whom have been orphaned by AIDS. Fahey first visited the school in May of last year to help plant trees and work on other sustainability issues at the school with his 9-year-old son, Colton, and Glenn Wilson, AYS assistant director.
While in Kisii, Fahey said he became intrigued by the musical talents of the school's young singers and told them he would return to make a record.
Six months later, he returned with the Andover-bred Grimis, a band made up of elementary school friends Andrew Doherty, Pete Michelinie and David Tanklefsky, to produce an album featuring the students and teachers. Fahey's daughter Summer, AYS coordinator Tony Lombardi and recording engineer Tom Blanford were also on the trip.
"They had never seen a microphone before," Fahey said of the students at the Okari School.
The two-disk, 33-track album, titled "I Am The One," is on sale for $20, with all the proceeds going to the Margaret Okari Children's Foundation.
Tomorrow, AYS is hosting a CD release and a Grimis concert at the Old Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20, with all the proceeds also going to the Okari School. A documentary on the recording project will be shown.
Grimis started performing together in 2001 at Andover High School. While the trio went their separate ways after graduating in 2004, they perform together on-and-off.
"It was really a life-affirming experience to go over there and record, it was really humbling for all of us," Tanklefsky said.
Fahey came up with the album title, "I Am The One," after hearing a girl at the school say the phrase, he said.
"I started thinking about me after hearing that," Fahey said. "I am the one who could help out the school. I am the one who can make a difference in this girl's life."
For more information on the CD, call 978-623-8241 go to andoveryouthservices.com.
IF YOU GO
What: "I Am The One" CD release, concert and documentary showing featuring Grimis, Caylen Bryant, Casey McQuillen
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Admission is $20, with all proceeds going to the Margaret Okari Children's Foundation