The Ohio State School of Music faculty, students, staff and alumni will play their fourth annual benefit concert 8 p.m. Friday at Weigel Auditorium. This is one of the two Music School benefit concerts in the 2009-2010 school year.

The event will raise endowment funds for the Mark Moffett Jr. Memorial Scholoarship, given to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer (GLBTQ) music majors. A $25,000 total endowment guarantees that the scholarship will be given each year without fail, according to its official Web site.

“Created in July 2005, this scholarship is not only the largest scholarship in this country, but also the only GLBTQ scholarship in the world,” said Paul Lockwood, the event coordinator of this concert.

This GLBTQ scholarship is named in honor of Mark Moffett Jr., who passed away in 2005 from brain cancer complicated by HIV. Lockwood said that his partner Moffett was a pianist in New York, where he spent most of his time.

They moved to Columbus in 2003, two years before Moffett received his terminal diagnosis. According to its Web site, the annual scholarship established in his name is awarded with first preference to a piano major, second to a violin major, which was Moffett’s second favorite instrument, and last is open to all music majors.

With his strong sense of sexual identity, Moffett did a lot to help the Gay & Lesbian community, including volunteer work at Body Positive and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. After Moffett passed away, Lockwood organized many volunteers and friends to contribute to the scholarship and arrange the annual benefit concert.

Neither the concert nor the scholarship would be possible to maintain if not for the enthusiasm of the volunteers involved, Lockwood explained.
“It is the community effort that makes the annual benefit concert happen,” he said. This includes the GLBTQ musicians who volunteered their time and effort, as well as the many supporters and participants from the School of Music.

Alicia Pan, a fourth-year in music education, is one student who said she will attend the benefit. She said that although she is not going to perform in the concert, she will be there not only because her friends are playing, but more importantly because she wants to do her part to help whoever needs the scholarship.

The benefit will feature live performances by OSU faculty, students, staff and alumni. Some of them are at crossroads in their lives, others are just beginning to make important choices, and they will be putting together a reflective and varied performance.

“From solar to group; from classical to broadway; people get to pick whatever instrument or type [of music] they want to play,” Lockwood said.

Weigel Auditorium is inside Weigel Hall at 1866 College Road. The suggested donation is $10, but attendees are encouraged to give what they can for the scholarship fund.