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McDaniel College grad organizes virtual concert to benefit Carroll Lutheran Village’s COVID-19 fund

McDaniel College students and staff are holding a virtual concert Wednesday to raise money for Carroll Lutheran Village’s COVID-19 fund and bring joy to the residents.

Sykesville resident Kayla Catlin, a recent graduate of McDaniel, last spring took a nonprofit writing class that required students to intern with a local nonprofit. Catlin’s professor, Josh Ambrose, tasked students with writing fundraiser proposals for their nonprofits. Catlin took it a step further.


As a music minor, Catlin had experience with Carroll Lutheran Village, a senior living community in Westminster. She and other McDaniel students visited the community, and other nursing homes, each semester to perform for the residents. Then COVID-19 cases started popping up in Carroll County, classes switched to online, and the performances were canceled.

Catlin proposed a virtual concert. She reached out to students and staff in the music department and invited them to record themselves or send in videos of past performances.


The concert will feature 22 acts, which include vocalists, pianists, a saxophonist, guitarists, and the Westminster Symphony Orchestra. Catlin is among the vocalists.

“During the whole pandemic and everything, I feel like these times are just really stressful for everybody, so hopefully it’ll be a nice little relief or break from all of that,” Catlin said.

Her professor said it’s not uncommon for students in the class to put their proposals into action.

“However, Kayla’s attention to detail, and the way she’s run with this idea after the class was over definitely stands out as one of the top percent,” Ambrose wrote in an email. “She was an exceptional McDaniel student and an extremely talented worker.”

Catlin, a cinema and English major, used her editing skills to string the clips together for one continuous performance, peppered with messages from her asking people to visit Carroll Lutheran Village’s website and donate to its COVID Cares Fund.

Janet Buchanan, vice president of philanthropy for Carroll Lutheran Village, said the funds raised will help pay for costs related to the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment or testing. The state requires weekly testing of employees who work in skilled care or assisted living, Buchanan said, which adds up. She said they’ve been free of cases for about a month-and-a-half now.

Buchanan supervised Catlin during her internship.

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“Kayla has done a magnificent job of putting this all together,” Buchanan said.


Even if people don’t donate, Buchanan hopes they will view the concert to support the students. She acknowledged it’s not only people living in places like Carroll Lutheran Village that have been affected by the pandemic; senior students like Catlin didn’t get to graduate the way they planned.

“If people would just tune in, it would just be one more way to say thank you to all these wonderful kids,” Buchanan said.

Residents of Carroll Lutheran Village are looking forward to the performance, Buchanan said, especially since they haven’t had visitors.

Catlin hopes the virtual concert will brighten their lives.

“I hope they can appreciate it and just find some happiness or joy out of it,” she said.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the concert will be broadcast on Carroll Lutheran Village’s Facebook page, through the Community Media Center on Channel 19 and HD-1086, and on closed circuit TV for community residents. An abbreviated version of the concert will be posted online afterward, Catlin said, due to copyright reasons.