To help international student and Oklahoma Baptist University graduate Jude Balthazar pay off the rest of his tuition, First Baptist Church is hosting a fundraising concert Sunday, August 11 at 4 p.m in their Fellowship Hall.
According to Balthazar, he graduated with his Bachelor's degree in voice performance in May, but because he had to focus on his studies, was unable to work and pay the remaining $5,586.37 of his tuition.
"If I (wanted) to graduate I needed to work less and so this is what I did so I could keep up with my grades...," Balthazar said.
As a result of this outstanding balance, the singer explained OBU can't give him an official copy of his transcript which he needs to begin his Master program, also in Voice Performance, at the University of Arkansas.
"They just put me on hold because I have a balance and I started to reach out to people personally and (asked) 'how can you help me,"' Balthazar said.
The graduate explained he heard from his professor and friend at OBU, Dr. Peter Purin who attends First Baptist Church.
"After a while he came up with the idea of a fundraising concert and I was like 'oh ok great lets go for that,''' Balthazar said.
In addition to Balthazar, numerous other singers and musicians will perform at the concert including pianists Mitchell Manlapig and Rachel Darvin, clarinet player Leo Chavez, soprano Harmony Dewees, trumpet players Konner Robertson and Johnny Dean, mezzo-soprano Raelyn Williamson, trombone player Jonathan Deichman, pianists Abigal and Estelle Lilite, pianists and violin player Anastasia and Ben Shute and guitarist Christopher Luckens.
Balthazar explained he is from the town of Port-au-Prince in Haiti and came to Oklahoma in August of 2017 to further his music education.
Prior to coming to America, Balthazar sang in several different choirs, performed in various productions and studied in Trinidad.
While he plans to move to Arkansas soon, until he pays off his balance Balthazar said he's in a tricky situation.
"I've been accepted. Everything is there already but they said they will be needing the official document...(The program) will start the end of this month," Balthazar said.
Both Balthazar and Purin hope to raise enough money at the concert to pay of his tuition and help him begin the next life step in Arkansas.
"If we can we would like to raise more for him to get him started at Arkansas until he can start working on campus (and pay) moving expenses, first month rent and all those good things," Purin said.
According to senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Charles Kimball while Balthazar doesn't attend the church, Kimball said he was happy to help because of his relationship with Purin and First Baptist's relationship with OBU.
"I have heart for international students and a heart for OBU and I believe in Peter...Our church has had a heritage of support and connection with the OBU music community and so I know our church would easily embrace this...," Kimball said.
Balthazar explained the concert will be live streamed on Facebook and people can make donations through PayPal under the address email@example.com.
Donations will be accepted at the door for those attending the concert and First Baptist Church is located at 227 N Union Avenue.