Leadership U students are working to bring their own red-carpet talent to a local senior center this weekend.
The Grammy Awards might not be for several months, but Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m., the students will present "Grammy's for Grannies" at the Florence Bain Senior Center in Columbia.
Leadership U, short for Leadership University, is a part of Leadership Howard, a nonprofit aimed at helping county residents improve their quality of life.
The program is open to students entering their junior year of high school, and encourages them to hone their leadership skills by providing volunteer opportunities and chances to interact with local government, business and service leaders. Currently, there are 50 Howard students participating in the organization.
During their time with Leadership U, students tour and volunteer in various county facilities, and it was on a tour of local senior centers in September that students found there was a need for live entertainment at the centers from young performers. The students wanted to fill that void, Marriotts Ridge High School junior Gabriella Ellrich said.
"During our visits, the seniors at local senior centers told us that they would really enjoy more music-related programs and more interaction with kids our age," Ellrich said.
The performance will feature more than just Leadership U students.
"Several of us in our group have musical talents or ties to the musical groups in our schools, and we knew we could tap into those resources to organize a concert," said Morgan Plitt, a junior from Long Reach High School.
Requests went out through Facebook and Twitter, and soon, Leadership U students had amassed performing groups from Howard, Mt. Hebron, Marriotts Ridge, River Hill, Centennial and Long Reach high schools. The afternoon's lineup includes singers, choirs, improvisational troupes and a string quartet.
"They wanted to give back," said Tammy Wiggins, assistant director of the Bain Center, who was contacted by Plitt to arrange the entertainment. "I thought the suggestion of a show was a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for the seniors.
"They're excited," Wiggins said of the seniors. "Any time you have something dealing with theater and music, those are the ones they enjoy the most.
Wiggins said the center often has live entertainment during the day, but rarely does it feature student performers.
"Howard County public school students, they're usually in class," Wiggins said. "We do have musical programs and theater and stuff like that, but we don't have youth from the school system to put on programs for us."
The concert is free and open to the public, but students suggest a $5 donation. All proceeds will go toward funding music-related programs at the Bain Center. Students are hoping at least 150 people will attend, Wiggins said.
The Bain Center is located at 5470 Ruth Keeton Way.