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Memorial concert raises scholarship funds

Source: Tricia Gerrard
Daniel Simons, Ginger Simons, Mark Maxson and Mike Lomax peform at the 5th annual Adrian Maxson Memorial Concert and Scholarship Fundraiser.

Music was played, money was raised and Adrian Maxson was remembered.

On Saturday, September 29th, the fifth annual Adrian Maxson Memorial Concert and Scholarship Fundraiser was held in Weber State University’s Allred Theater in the Val A. Browning Center at 7:30 p.m.

This fundraising concert is held each year in honor of Adrian Maxson. He was an early college student at WSU when he was struck and killed by a car in 2007. His father, WSU professor Mark Maxson, developed a social justice scholarship and directs this annual concert to fund it.

The concert has many supporters each year. Every performer in the show is a volunteer.

Bart Snarr, a past Browning Center production manager, has been a part of the sound production every year. He flew in from Florida, all on his own time and money, to mix the show.

With the help of all the volunteers and Browning Center staff, the concert took place on Saturday night for anyone who wanted to attend, with the suggested donation of $10.

The concert featured a wide variety of musical performances.

“There was a mixture of talented musicians,” said audience member Sebastian Arismendi, WSU automotive collision repair student. “They all had good enthusiasm and it was for a good cause, which added to the good experience.”

Mark Maxson discovered the first performer, Josaleigh Pollett, when he judged a Standard-Examiner Battle of the Bands. She began the concert with acoustic guitar and vocals, under purple stage lights with fog surrounding her.

The next performer Maxson described as a “classical rock star.” Fan-Ya Lin played a piece by Chopin on the piano with much body movement.

Maxson then introduced a trio who performed the classical song “Lament.” The trio comprised Kendra Johnson on the oboe; Thomas Priest, chair of the WSU Department of Performing Arts, on the bassoon, and pianist Gerta Wiemer.

The show continued with one more classical musician, Artur Javadov, on the violin. He also appeared later in the show in a performance of an ’80s song, “Violin” by Kate Bush.

A dance piece then changed the pace of the concert, with Deja and Ra’kaia Mitchell performing an African drum dance. Deja Mitchell is a WSU faculty member who teaches African dance and has been in this show for the past three years.

Maxson then performed on keys, vocals and the guitar with a band, which consisted of Daniel and Ginger Simons performing vocals, Wim Becker and Max Cox on the electric guitar, Clint Stanger on the bass guitar,  and Mike Lomax on the drums. They played cover songs by The Beatles, Neal Young, Gary Numan and more.

The last song of the concert was “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil. Maxson said he chose it because he feels it reflects social justice. He said the song explains how some people don’t feel safe when they go to bed at night, because they fear they won’t wake up from their hunger or because of the war around them. The lyrics in the song ask, “How do we sleep when our beds are burning?”

The funds raised through the concert will go toward the social justice scholarship that will be awarded to a WSU student who cares about asking questions like those in “Beds Are Burning,” and who is involved in the community to try improving the lives of others.

“By supporting this scholarship, you are supporting the betterment of this state, one individual at a time,” said Cameron Morgan, the 2008 scholarship winner.

To donate to the scholarship, interested parties can contact Carol Biddle, WSU development director, at [email protected].

In the future, Maxson said, he hopes the annual concert will raise enough to support two WSU students instead of one. Next year’s scholarship winner will be awarded $1,000.

More information and the scholarship application are available at


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