David Molak, who committed suicide in January after being cyberbullied, loved Star Wars, vacation bible school tunes, and pop music.

In celebration of what would have been his 17th birthday this Monday, 14 members of Musicians of the San Antonio Symphony (MOSAS) will perform “The Throne Room” from Star Wars, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” variations of “Happy Birthday,” and a special arrangement of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” among other musical pieces that are meaningful to the David’s family and friends.

“We’ve chosen music that will bless the family, celebrate David’s life, and hopefully remind the audience of David,” said Anastasia Parker, violinist with the San Antonio Symphony and chair of MOSAS’ community outreach committee.

Christ Episcopal Church. Photo by Scott Ball.
Christ Episcopal Church. Photo by Scott Ball.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, located at 510 Belknap Pl. At 6 p.m. a dinner of finger foods and cupcakes will be accompanied by an instrument petting zoo and a raffle. Suggested donation is $17 to signify what would have been David’s 17th year on this earth.

The money raised will support David’s Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of cyberbullying and cyber abuse, protecting today’s youth from the harmful effects of improper social media usage, and aiding in the passage and implementation of David’s Law, which would ensure that the law treats cyberbullying as a punishable offense.

(Read more: Proposed ‘David’s Law’ Tackles Cyberbullying Issues)

The idea for the concert is as remarkable as the program behind it. High school senior and violinist Abigail Dickson was wearing a David’s Legacy “Cool to be Kind” medal when she performed with members of the San Antonio Symphony in a concert during Fiesta.

Allyson Dawkins, the principal violist, approached my mother and me and shared how she had heard of David and was moved by the story and also how she and other musicians wanted to help support the Molak family and honor David,” Dickson said. “So that kind of inspired something.”

After following up with Dawkins, Parker contacted Dickson on behalf of MOSAS and initiated plans for a concert. Local civic groups will surely try to out-elbow each other for 18-year-old Dickson’s attention after her gap year and formal music studies.

“I just kind of ran with it,” she said of planning the birthday celebration. “MOSAS has been so generous with their time and so supportive of this entire concert. They’re doing all of this as volunteers. I’m beyond grateful and moved because they’re such incredible, incredible musicians. It means the world to me and to the Molak family.”

A screen shot from Cliff Molak's Facebook page.
A screenshot from Cliff Molak’s Facebook page.

Parker said Dickson was in “constant contact” with David’s mother, “asking for approval and for what music he liked.”

The oldest of four children in a musical Alamo Heights family, Dickson, at age 12, planned on studying philology at Oxford or Cambridge, the only two universities that offer majors in the study of structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages. Her parents stopped worrying about sending their daughter abroad alone when she discovered the violin. Four years later, she is studying with the esteemed Eric Gratz, concertmaster first violin of the San Antonio Symphony.

Even her inspiration for David’s 17th birthday concert and celebration was related to music.

“I keep circling back to this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a theologian executed by the Nazis in 1945),” Dickson said. “‘Music will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities and in times of care and sorrow will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.’

“Music has such an incredible healing power and ability to bring people in a community together,” she continued. “So my hope and intention for this event, and I think for the musicians of the San Antonio Symphony, is to strengthen the community and encourage kindness, and also support the Molak family and other families that have been targets of a bully, and to honor David Molak’s life and his 17th birthday.”

Nancy Cook-Monroe

Nancy Cook-Monroe is a local freelance writer and public relations consultant. She has written about San Antonio arts and civic scenes since she could hold a pencil.