FALMOUTH – About 100 Falmouth High School students joined with a 60-member chorus from Boston and a group of Portland immigrants and refugees Saturday to raise money for international relief efforts in Darfur, Haiti and Pakistan.

A concert called “Our Global Beat,” featuring music from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia — with U2 and John Lennon thrown in for good measure — nearly filled the auditorium at the high school Saturday afternoon.

Out in the hallway, students sold Save Darfur T-shirts, baskets from Ghana and other items to benefit organizations trying to make a difference in troubled parts of the world.

The project started with the school’s 100-member Key Club. Holly MacEwan, the club’s adviser, is the sister of Chris Eastburn, artistic director of The Family Folk Chorale, a Boston-area chorus made up of singers and musicians of all ages.

The chorale, which had performed a benefit at the school a couple of years ago, was working on a new multicultural program called “Our Global Beat.”

“We got to talking, and I told him about the incredible immigrant and refugee population here in Portland,” MacEwan said, “and what a beautiful, rich, diverse community we have, and said it would be great to partner again and involve that community.”

MacEwan and her students brought together the leaders of the local refugee-immigrant community and asked for their support. Soon two local groups, the Pihcintu International Children’s Chorus and the Malika Traditional African Dancers, were on board.

The Pihcintu International Children’s Chorus is made up of 29 local children from 13 countries. Many of them are first-generation immigrants from war-torn areas or places that are experiencing political upheaval or famine. (“Pihcintu” is a Passamaquoddy word meaning: “When he sings, his voice carries far.”)

“There are a lot of Sudanese kids in Portland, and they have a very strong affinity and emotional attachment to their home country,” said Con Fullam, producer for the chorus. “And this being a fundraiser for Darfur made a huge difference to them.”

Proceeds from the concert are going to The Fur Cultural Revival, which is a Darfur community center in Maine; to Habitat for Humanity’s work rebuilding Haiti after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake; and to UNICEF’s flood relief efforts in Pakistan, where an estimated 10 million children are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Organizing the concert and gathering the information for the tables in the hallway opened the eyes of a lot of the Falmouth High School students about what’s going on in the rest of the world.

Andrew Roukey, a 16-year-old sophomore, admits he didn’t really know anything about the genocide in Darfur until El-Fadel Arbab of The Fur Cultural Revival came to the school to speak about his experiences.

“He talked to us about how his village was attacked,” Roukey said. “He hid in a tree to get away.”

Roukey was so moved by El-Fadel Arbab’s story that he wrote a letter to the Enough Project, a group working to end genocide and crimes against humanity. He also was quoted in another letter supporting a public speaking scholarship for El-Fadel Arbab so he can spread his story further.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

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