Project Smiles: Lexington High School Students Spread Happiness Through Music

Margot Bordman and Audi Lin

The Lexington High School Symphony Orchestra started Project Smiles, an initiative to spread joy and warmth through music. Project Smiles is a non-profit organization that allows people to send loved ones online cards and videos of the LHS Symphony Orchestra performing. 

“Especially now for the holidays, it’s really important that we make sure everyone can feel welcome, and feel like they can have a holiday like previous years, even with the pandemic,” Ali Mosallaei, one of the Symphony Orchestra presidents and a student leader for Project Smiles, said. 

As the pandemic progressed, orchestra teachers and students needed to adjust their plans for the year in order to keep performing and entertaining the community while staying safe.

“Because we were not allowed to have concerts due to COVID-19, [Project Smiles] was a chance for us to perform, put ourselves out into the community, and also do some good at the same time,” Billings-White said.  

The students initially brainstormed hosting a fundraiser that would ultimately benefit a good cause while being accessible to many. Then, they worked hard to bring their vision to life. 

“Project Smiles is, right now, raising money for the Lexington Food Pantry through creating greeting cards of different kinds that we attach an audio file of either small ensembles playing holiday music, or the entire ensemble playing as well,” Jessica Billings-White, an orchestra teacher at LHS and an organizer of Project Smiles, said.

Not only are the students looking to fundraise, but they also aim to spread hope and positivity to other LHS students in a fun and creative way. 

 “We started Project Smiles to send recordings that Symphony Orchestra has done, along with little images and messages to different people, to make people feel that this is a happy holiday for them, but also to do something to benefit the community as well,” Mosallaei said. 

 Channeling their musical talents, the creators of Project Smiles wanted to spread the mentality that acts of kindness, no matter how small, make a huge difference. Many received a little extra cheer this holiday season as a result of the students’ musical efforts.

“[We wanted to show that] even just recording a simple message or a 30-second solo, you can still make someone’s day, and that you don’t even need to be in the same room as someone to send them happiness,” Mosallaei said.