Using the power of music to help others

Emma Skantze was a 9-year-old student at Turner Elementary School when she decided she wanted to get involved to help others.

After brainstorming with her mom, she came up with the idea of organizing a concert.

The first event featured her and some of her friends.

Emma Skantze has devoted many hours of her life to the quest of helping others through an annual benefit she organizes. Sometime there is one concert; sometimes, two. But, the goal is always the same: To raise money for people in need.
(B.C. Manion)

But now, as she prepares for the seventh annual Helping Hands benefit, she’s working out all of the details for having two concerts, at two venues.

One concert features about 30 performers, ranging in age from 5 to 18. The other showcases professional musicians from across the Tampa Bay area.

Besides lining up the musicians and the venues, she’s also organizing a bake sale and working on lining up food trucks, too.

It’s a lot of work, but the 17-year-old said the satisfaction she derives after it is all over makes it all worthwhile.

Last year, there was one event, which raised $7,200.

This year, with two concerts, the fundraising goal is $15,000, said Skantze, a junior at Land O’ Lakes High School.

The student concert is scheduled for April 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 15102 Amberly Drive in Tampa. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Those attending will be able to purchase baked goods. A couple of food trucks also are expected.

Concert-goers also are encouraged to donate baby food and diapers, because the items are in great need by Metropolitan Ministries, she said.

The student concert also will include a performance by Eden Shirmohammad, of Land O’ Lakes.

“I want to show the younger students, especially, what they can do if they keep with their music,” Skantze said.

The professional concert is scheduled for May 27 at 6 p.m. at Barness Hall, at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.

There will be a bake sale there, too, and she’s trying to line up food trucks, but is still working out what needs to be done to make that happen at USF, she said.

Tickets for the professional concert are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

Skantze said there’s a feeling of satisfaction that comes from staging the concerts.

“Metropolitan Ministries has really expanded in the past couple years,” she said, and added, “I love being able to be a part of it.”

The organization has a day care, an elementary school and a considerable amount of job training.

In the beginning, organizing the event was difficult because she hadn’t done it before.

Over time, she’s become more comfortable in seeking sponsors and handling the logistics.

“I’m always talking to people who are older than me. But, with a lot of practice, I think my confidence has gone up, and it has gotten easier to talk to other people,” she said.

“I think it’s very cool when I can find adults who take me seriously,” she added.

She also noted that she doesn’t have to do everything by herself.

“I have a great support team,” Skantze said.

Even with experience, she said, it’s a time-consuming task. “For some reason, there’s not less time that you need to put it into.

“You have to reach out to the same amount of people,” she said, estimating she’ll log 100 hours on the project by the time it is completed.

Still, she is gratified by the results.

“We’ve been able to grow the concert every year and raise more money,” said Skantze, who manages to balance taking four Advanced Placement classes, doing soccer and track, and managing the details of the fundraiser.

“I organize my time,” she said. “I make a lot of lists. Sometimes I just have to prioritize what I think is more important.”

Helping others, in this young woman’s eyes, is important.

Seventh annual Helping Hands concerts to benefit Metropolitan Ministries Student Concert 2017
What: Concert will feature about 30 performers, ranging from age 5 through 18
Where: Grace Episcopal Church, 15102 Amberly Drive, Tampa
When: April 23, 5:30 p.m.
How much: $10 in advance; $15 at the door (Also will be collecting baby food and diapers for Metropolitan Ministries)

What: An evening of music
Concert will feature professional musicians performing on piano, classical guitar and violin.
Where: Barness Hall at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa
When: May 27, 6 p.m.
How much: $20 in advance; $25 at the door (Also will be collecting baby food and diapers for Metropolitan Ministries)

For information: Go to, or contact Emma Skantze at (813) 892-4868 or moc.o1529672247ohay@1529672247eztna1529672247ksamm1529672247e1529672247.

Published April 19, 2017

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