Brookings-Harbor High School student Jesse Orozco always dreamed of being a big hip-hop music singer, but it took the death of his 22-year-old cousin last year to inspire him to try and realize that dream.
"Before he died of cancer, my cousin told me I could do anything I put my mind to, so that's what I'm doing," Orozco said.
He plans to kick-start his music career and that of other local musicians by planning, organizing and hosting a hip-hop and rock concert next year.
The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers food bank, and the focus of his senior project.
Already, he's secured the venue, an impressive list of local and regional bands, and the support of several mentors. All he needs is money andndash; $3,000 to be exact.
"If I get enough sponsors to help me raise $3,000, that would be awesome," Orozco said.
Orozco, 18, has volunteered for community organizations such as the Leo Club, Brooking Fire and Rescue, KASPER, the Chetco Community Public Library, and Brookings-Harbor Community Theater.
Now, he hopes his community will return the favor by supporting his project.
"I want to showcase local artists, get kids interested in music and support a good cause: the food bank," he said.
Inspired by his cousin's words, Orozco started recording his music in April. He will sell CDs of his music at the concert, scheduled for April 6 at the Harbor Performing Arts Center. The CDs are $5 and, after covering the cost to make the CDs, he will donate half of the CD sales that night to the food bank.
"I've worked closely with Julie Davis at the food bank and I believe in what they do there," he explained.
In addition to helping the food bank, the concert will culminate a year's worth of efforts on his senior project, which is required of all high school seniors to graduate.
"I want to go into business marketing and promotions," Orozco said. "Doing a show like this, with all the organization and coordination, will help me achieve that goal."
With $3,000 in sponsorships, he will pay local and regional hip-hop and rock bands to perform, pay a professional DJ and cover other related expenses. He said 100 percent of the ticket sales will go to the food bank.
"Some of the artists might do the show for free, because it's a benefit, but I want pay some of the up-and-coming musicians for their work so they can see that they can achieve their goals, too," Orozco said.
He will accept any donations, but is looking to several individuals and businesses for significant sponsorships.
And with sponsorship comes rewards.
For $250, the donor's business name or personal name will be included in the concert programs.
For $500, donors will receive recognition in the media, name on concert posters and in the programs.
For $1,000, the sponsor will receive all that was listed above and their name on a large banner to be displayed on stage.
Already he has the support of several businesses, including the Curry Coastal Pilot, Brookings Signs and Graphics, and mentor Dori Blodgett, president of the Brookings-Harbor Community Theater.
Blodgett, who admits to not being a big hip-hop music fan, will help Orozco with staging the event and printing out promotional posters.
"Jesse is the consummate young adult volunteer; he's done so much for this community and I'm more than happy to support him," Blodgett said.
She has helped Orozco plan the event and helped him craft a letter to potential sponsors.
"It's awesome to have a young adult step forward and do something new and different like this. I hope the community will put some funding behind his dream," Blodgett said.
Local business owner and event promoter Bruce Ellis also helped Orozco by providing some insight into the promotions business.
"Any time one of our young people is trying to do something good for the community, I'm behind that 100 percent," Ellis said. "The first thing I told him was he needs sponsors, not just putting information on Facebook. He needs cash flow to make it happen, and I'll do what I can to help."
Julie Davis, manager of the food bank, isn't familiar with hip-hop music, but that doesn't matter.
"I think what he's doing is innovative and generous; I'm so proud that young people are so willing to give," Davis said. "We're thrilled that he's doing this."