The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate Key Notes: Spreading the Smile

Instagram / @colgate.keynotes

Consisting of various talented musicians from across Colgate University, Colgate Key Notes is a student-led group that sings to children in hospitals nationwide. Sophomores ​Dilni Pathirana and Sammy Perez founded Colgate Key Notes as a part of the larger non-profit organization, Kids Educational Youth Services (KEYS), whose mission is to help kids develop positive life skills. 

During their pre-orientation program with the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) last year, Pathirana and Perez were first introduced to KEYS’s mission.

“We both participated in the COVE pre-orientation group, and we volunteered with KEYS for an afternoon here in Hamilton. Dilni and I both love music and love their message and what they are doing for kids who are really having a hard time healthwise.” Perez said.

From that afternoon on, Pathirana and Perez knew they wanted to radiate this positivity across Colgate.

“The day we volunteered, we basically decided at that moment that we wanted to do something with this,” Pathirana said. “There was a pamphlet that said there were Monday Night Smile Concerts and private lessons and asked if we could do something like this, even though we’re at Colgate.” 

“We talked to Colleen Bennett, who is the founder of the KEYS organization, and said we would love to open a chapter of this at Colgate,” Perez said, “We then came up with the name Colgate Key Notes, just spitballing around because the KEYS organization is a larger organization based in New York.” 

The Key Notes’ most recent concert was on Nov. 13, where they sang a variety of Disney songs. They plan on having more concerts next semester, as well. 

“Our concert and repertoire is tailored specifically for the person we’re singing for,” Perez said.

Most of the concerts are conducted virtually, but before the official concert starts, the members get to say hello and connect with the kid they are singing for. Members also make posters for the kids, which are visible during the concert. Even though each concert is for one person, all are welcome to watch. Moving forward, they are also hoping to conduct some in-person concerts.

“We do it over Facebook Live, so anyone can watch if they want to, as well,” Pathirana said.

“The concerts are a lot of fun; they are very low-stress,” Perez said. “We have a variety of different instrumentalists. We have a clarinet player, a violinist, piano players and guitar players. It’s a very inclusive club for people who love to play music and love to help people.”  

The Colgate Key Notes hope to continue the mission of KEYS to spread positivity to individuals who are struggling. 

“It’s for the kids,” Perez said. “They are going through a really hard time, so we’re just looking for positive people who want to help make change.”

Sophomore Stella Strassberg is a member of the Colgate Key Notes and enjoys spreading its wonderful impact. 

“I’m a member of Colgate Key Notes, and it’s been an amazing experience,” Strassberg said. “I love being a part of a community that gives support to kids with cancer, and tries to provide some love and entertainment in their lives and makes them feel special. That is exactly what Colgate Key Notes does, and our whole project is to make everyone feel loved and included by singing.”

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