Students Shine at “Songs for Smiles” Event


Songs for Smiles was an event that raised money for the Operation Smile nonprofit. (JILLIAN JAYMES/THE OBSERVER)


On April 27, Operation Smile hosted their most profitable event of the year: Songs for Smiles. This event invited Fordham students with musical talent to perform music of their own choice, volunteering their time and effort to support this valuable cause. For those reading who are unfamiliar, Operation Smile raises money for children who are in need of cleft palate or cleft lip surgery. Due to the many philanthropic efforts of the club to raise money and awareness for this cause, several children who would in no way be able to afford this surgery on their own have been given the ability to gain a life-changing smile.

Upon entering the event, one was greeted by a series of smiles — from the members of the club as well as the other Fordham students attending the event.Raffle tickets were issued according to donation, with profits going directly to the fund for children in need of surgery. Raffle prizes included desirable objects such as a Michael Kors bag, a Lush giftcard and a collection of Fordham gear. Plenty of appetizing food was provided to guests as well, but at each table sat a reminder of the event’s cause.

Stories of the children who already benefited from the efforts of Operation Smile servedas the centerpieces of the tables. One table included the story of Maria, who had already had her surgery and was living a happier life as a result. Another showed Adeline’s story, whose surgery brought great joy to her mother, who could not afford her daughter’s surgery on her own.

This event in particular both provided students with a safe and encouraging place to share and appreciate each other’s musical talent while raising significant funds and awareness for an important cause. Performances included a beautiful set of duets by Lydia Culp, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, and Brian McClain FCLC ’19, a set of interesting acoustic performances by Navi Bajwa, FCLC ’17, and a series of other talented displays.

(Jillian Jaymes/The Observer).
(Jillian Jaymes/The Observer).

“This is my fourth time playing a Songs for Smiles event, and I really love the atmosphere because it’s always really positive,” Culp said. “It’s like one night of fun and songs and making t-shirts and eating dinner and someone has their life changed.”

Culp and McClain made a great team, performing covers of “Heart is Like a River” by Kristian Matsson, “Cold is the Night” by the Oh Hello’s and “River” by Leon Bridges. Each song elicited a sense of peaceful happiness, which matched the theme of the event well. “I like the positivity of the songs,” McClain explained when asked about the duo’s music choices.

“I think it’s a lax place to perform in front of people,” Bajwa said, following his series of performances of Beatles classics and other feel-good music. “And it’s for a cause so you feel good doing it.”

After many of the performers finished, others seemed to be encouraged by their peers to participate as well, causing the event to be an assortment of contributions made by students who clearly had their hearts set on helping with this incredible cause. Even the F-sharps made an appearance and performed, closing the night on a happy note.

“It’s definitely our biggest event,” Michaela Browner, FCLC ’19 and 2017-2018 president of Operation Smile said. “It’s where we raise the most money and the most awareness… everyone’s just here to have a good time and learn a little more about our cause.”

It was hard not to wear a smile on your face as you left, knowing just how big of a difference you may have made in a child’s life.