West Charlotte High School Performing Arts Benefit

Just A Few Lions, a group of West Charlotte High School alumni, is producing a benefit concert for the school’s performing arts program Nov. 20 on campus.

Cedric Steele found his voice and purpose in the performing arts at West Charlotte High School.

Steele, a third-generation WCHS alumnus, pays back his alma mater with Just A Few Lions, an alumni group featuring the West Charlotte’s Fellowship Choir at a benefit concert Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. at the Clinton L. Blake Auditorium on Campus 2219 Senior Drive.

“It was just a few of us who got together, who decided that was what we wanted to do – go in the direction of helping the performing arts,” said Steele, a licensed clinical counselor. “I graduated in 1996. 69 people help. We have 95 people, 94 people.”

The free concert is a fundraiser for the school’s performing arts department and will include performances from dance and drama classes as well as the Livingstone College Choir. The organizers ask for donations of at least $25 to be on the list of patrons. We look forward to seeing you at the concert. “It’s all about usability”

Producing the gig is a chance to give back to the school that gave Steele the opportunity to grow from a reserved teenager to a more outgoing and confident one. He agreed to work behind the scenes, helping with stage lighting, set design, and helping the actors get their bearings. These experiences also helped academically, especially in writing.

“It’s very personal,” Steele said. “I was a shy kid for the most part, and the West Charlotte Performing Arts Department took me out of my shyness and taught me a lot. I was into speech and debate or debate; I I was in the theater, and I was in a choir. Just being in those classes, I just learned to be an extrovert and not so much an introvert.

Steele said the concert was part of a campaign by alumni to raise $7,500 for the performing arts in West Charlotte, who returned to campus in 2017 after a ten-year hiatus. Rehearsals were underway in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but remote learning and social distancing put everything on hold.

“We closed and everyone kept asking me ‘when are you going to do it,’ so I started planning at the end of July,” Steele said. “The framework was almost already defined. I just needed to go back and tweak it a bit and put the info there. And here we are.”

The response to the initiative has been positive on and off campus, Steele said. Contributions are already halfway there, and organizers hope the concert will close the gap.

“The response has been quite great in terms of donors and the involvement of alumni, family and friends,” he said. “We are at about 47% of our donation target. The students are excited to come and perform as it will be their first show for the community in the new building.

In addition to raising funds for the performing arts, the program has an underlying purpose. In a time of tighter school budgets, programs like theater and music often rely on off-campus support to augment the foundation.

“At least it puts the performing arts in the minds of the community,” Steele said. “A lot of us know how CMS is funded and there are programs that are underfunded…because there just isn’t a hot ticket. It’s not football; it’s not basketball. [The concert] will bring to mind that the performing arts are back in West Charlotte, and that’s something the community needs to help us support.

To donate, go online to www.justafewlions.org.

Checks can be made payable to West Charlotte High School National Alumni Association Inc. and in the memo line write Performing Arts Fundraiser and mailed to:
West Charlotte High School National Alumni Association, Inc.
Box 16513
Charlotte, North Carolina 28297