‘Keep On’ concert raises funds for children with cancer

Last Friday night at Solana Pacific School, the music was playing and children were dancing like crazy at the “Keep On” concert, a benefit for childhood cancer. What made the scene all the more special was the little girl who dreamt the whole thing up: 7-year-old Carmel Creek School second-grader Shawdi Amini.

Shawdi was determined to put a concert together to help children in need, selecting the Emilio Nares Foundation as her beneficiary. The concert ended up raising $2,000.

“I didn’t know I could make this big of a deal,” said Shawdi, eyes wide at her large turnout.

The Emilio Nares Foundation is an organization that supports families dealing with pediatric cancer. The foundation was named in honor of Emilio, a 5-year-old San Diego boy who died of cancer in 2000.

Emilio’s parents, Richard and Diane, were at Friday night’s concert.

“Thank you to this precious little 7-year-old girl,” Diane Nares told the crowd with Shawdi smiling beside her.

Shawdi said Carmel Creek School has a Character Counts program, dedicated to teaching students how to be good people.

“We work for a month on character traits like citizenship and responsibility so we know it’s important to help people,” Shawdi said.

“She’s something else,” grandma Mary Akhavan said of Shawdi. “She’s really understanding and thoughtful. She’s always thinking about other kids and her friends.”

Martin Quiroga, an 11-year-old cancer survivor and one of the first beneficiaries of the Emilio Nares Foundation, served as the concert’s emcee. Well spoken and funny, he introduced the bands: the Boys & Girls Club’s Youth Arts Academy jazz band and the Mike McGill Band.

Shawdi handpicked the Mike McGill Band, a surf rock group her parents listen to. She asked if the “doot doo doo guy” could play the concert, after his song “Keep On, doot doo doo.”

She got the idea for the jazz band, as her second-grade teacher’s son plays in the band.

Children in attendance went nuts dancing to the music, forming can-can lines and dance circles.

With her first concert behind her, Shawdi was asked what she wants to be when she grows up.

She said she would like to be a doctor - “so I can help kids, of course.”

Concertgoers formed a can-can line during the ‘Keep On’ concert. Shawdi Amini, a 7-year-old Carmel Creek second-grader, organized the concert at Solana Pacific last Friday.