toRhapsody: How Two Cleveland Students are Making an Impact On Their Community


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By Harry Robertson, Reporter

Cleveland High School juniors Kalob Ho and Ian Song have always been involved in giving back to their communities through the medium of music. Even when they were very young, they were organizing street performances to raise money and awareness for disaster relief funds in Nepal and Ecuador. As they’ve matured, those same notions of gratuity and kindness have matured, as well.

Today, Ian and Kalob run toRhapsody, a non-profit organization that they describe as “a student led non-profit organization that aims to empower people, and bring peace through music.” In practice, toRhapsody performs classical music at nursing homes, locations they say are in desperate need of entertainment during COVID-19. Ian claims that the inspiration to play these venues, and to begin the company itself, is derived from the passing of his own grandmother, who was in a nursing home at the time of her passing. “She was alone, and I didn’t want anyone else to feel the way that she did in these homes.”

Nursing homes aren’t typically regarded as the most exciting of venues. The introduction of COVID-19 has only exacerbated this fact. toRhapsody attempts to disrupt the monotony of everyday life in these homes, and as Kalob describes, they do so quite well. “Often,” Kalob says, “when we arrive, we’re greeted by residents waiting for us, eager to hear us play.”

They explain that the impact of what they do is noticeable in those who watch them perform, making the responsibilities and detriments associated with running the organization menial in comparison to the reward.

Those responsibilities, however, are tasking. Contacting, organizing, travelling to, and finally performing at a given location requires a lot of coordination and effort. Those challenges are then met by further duties that come along with being a student. As Ian describes, it can be, at times, very difficult to meet these standards. That being said, he has a team of dedicated friends and colleagues who have made the process that much easier.

When Ian formed the group, he already had a very talented group of performers to pull from. Ian is a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and has been for many years. Both Ian and Kalob play the violin, but they have called on other members of the Philharmonic to accompany them. The performances are beautiful, and you can find many of them on their YouTube channel.

As for the future of the organization, Ian has some ideas. He plans to continue it in some fashion, stating that they have already begun efforts to diversify their outreach, particularly in musical education. Ian mentions that a member of toRhapsody has already begun providing lessons to a young musician, and that many educators and parents have used their YouTube videos as a means to engage children in music. Furthermore, they have toyed with the idea of virtual concerts, as COVID-19 cases begin to trend upwards, yet again.

Regardless of what the future holds, toRhapsody is a prime example of students expressing ingenuity and passion. They have created an organization that provides a unique service to their community, and one that is desperately needed in times like these. Ian and Kalob feel the resonation of the impact they have on their community: “It feels good, knowing that we are helping people in a time like this.”


As toRhapsody is a non-profit, they require donations to continue to supply their audience with quality performances. A link to donate is here.