More than three years after it began, the global public health crisis that inspired a Saratoga teenager to come up with a creative way of spreading cheer while doing good works is officially over at last.
“It’s rewarding to do something I love for a good cause,” says the 17-year-old Saratoga High School senior, who founded a nonprofit that continues bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to entertain others while leveraging the presentations to support the organization’s philanthropic goals.
Known by the acronym MAGIC, Sanghi’s charity will stage a performance called “Magic of Diversity” showcasing eclectic talent on Aug. 27 at Saratoga High School; the show features performances by singers, musicians and dancers as well as an appearance by former Intel engineer-turned-professional-comedian Dan Nainan.
The idea for Music And Good In Concert originated as COVID-19 was forcing the public to quarantine.
But Vidur Sanghi is as committed as ever to his mission of sharing the magic.
At first, Sanghi and his parents were looking for ways to help first responders, but social distancing rules nixed that idea, along with any chance of visiting relatives and hanging out with friends.
“There was a sense of isolation,” Sanghi, an award-winning saxophonist, recalls.
He turned to the internet for human connections and began asking friends who played instruments as well as family members in India if they’d be willing to share their music in a live stream event on YouTube.
News of his plans spread, and on May 23, 2020, a trio of Sanghi’s friends and relatives stepped in front of the cameras to sing, some in Hindi.
Sanghi held five more live streams before organizing the first fundraiser that October, a low-key competition among six teams of people he knew from around the country and overseas.
Participants ranged in age from elementary school kids to grandparents; some sang, others danced, and still more played instrumental music over the course of three weekends. Sanghi himself delivered Bollywood music on one of his saxophones as well as British pop singer Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” and other Western songs.
Along the way, Sanghi has added professional artists to the mix, uploading recorded sessions with an Indian pianist, a drummer, and a poet who read his writings.
Viewers demonstrated their appreciation for MAGIC’s mission with online donations.
Some of the money has benefited Off Their Plate, a nonprofit that provides financial support to small restaurants around the country; during the pandemic, those funds provided meals for health care workers.
MAGIC, which became a nonprofit in late July 2022, also has raised money for The Heart Care Foundation of India on behalf of children whose parents can’t afford the surgeries they need.
That same month MAGIC delivered its first in-person performance — hastily organized busking in the streets of Dresden, Germany — when Sanghi and some fellow students decided to collect tips for war-torn Ukraine citizens during a stop on their high school band’s European tour.
To date, MAGIC has raised approximately $19,660 and has given away nearly all of it, setting aside only what’s needed to plan the next event.
“We don’t keep any of the money (for ourselves),” Sanghi says.
In December, MAGIC received Saratoga High School’s approval to become a campus club.
The following month, Sanghi organized its first in-person concert on the campus featuring dozens of high school students and adults.
The donations MAGIC received went to Best Buddies International, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping them improve their communication skills, find jobs, live independently, and forge friendships.
These days Sanghi is still busy promoting MAGIC by word of mouth while soliciting business sponsorships. He’s also recruiting students from local dance schools to perform routines from ballet to Bollywood, as well as choirs and instrumental ensembles.
Although most of MAGIC acts initially featured participants of Indian origin, Sanghi says the lineups and content now include a greater variety of races and cultures.
He’s poised to start the school year later this month with five Advanced Placement classes, but Sanghi nonetheless plans to hold another live event after the winter break.
The teen hopes MAGIC will remain active after he graduates and is toying with the idea of starting a similar club at whichever university he attends.
In the meantime, though, Sanghi takes satisfaction in knowing he’s touching others’ lives.
“It’s not just the people we end up helping (through donations) — it’s also the performers who feel great joy,” he says. “Many times after performances, participants will come up to me and tell me how fulfilling it was to use (their) talent for a cause.”
“Magic of Diversity” runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 in McAfee Auditorium, Saratoga High School, 20300 Herriman Ave., Saratoga. A community buffet follows the show. Suggested donation is $25, at the door or online at Magic Of Diversity @ McAfee Theatre. August 27. Entertainment contest starts @ 3pm, immediately followed by a Community Buffet (givebutter.com).
To watch online, go to: https://youtube.com/@musicandgoodinconcert1340 .
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.