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(From l-r) Music Compound owner Jenny Townsend, Patrick Ensslin, Taylor Walker (NAMI), Taylor Galford, Colleen Thayer (NAMI), Iain Harris and Alyssa Martin during the check presentation

Teachers and students of all ages at local music school Music Compound recently presented a live musical tribute to one of the most revered albums of all time on the 50th anniversary of its release: Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.” In addition to performing the entirety of the album, the music school also raised funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): concert attendees contributed $800, which Music Compound matched.

The Music Compound team recently presented NAMI of Sarasota and Manatee Counties executive director Colleen Thayer and program manager Taylor Walker with the $1,600 check.

The idea to raise funds for a mental health organization was suggested by Music Compound instructor Patrick Ensslin, whose uncle – who had dealt with schizophrenia for most of his life – died the week before the concert. Pink Floyd’s founder, guitarist/vocalist and chief songwriter, Syd Barrett, had also suffered from severe mental illness over the course of his life. After the concert, Ensslin noted that the experience had helped with his family’s grief; he also expressed his gratitude for those who work to help people with mental illness.

First released in 1973 by Capitol Records, “The Dark Side of the Moon” is a 45-minute conceptual suite covering both sides of the original vinyl album, with all the songs flowing together to make a single, epic piece of music. Frequently appearing in lists of “the greatest albums ever made,” it is the third bestselling studio album of all time, having sold 45 million copies worldwide, and going 15x Platinum in the U.S. alone.

To celebrate 50 years of this landmark work, Taylor Galford and Iain Harris, two instructors at Music Compound, worked together to stage the performance of the entire album by 22 students and 11 staff members.

Due to the success of and response to this concert, Music Compound has decided to extend this “season of giving,” with monthly concerts benefiting area nonprofits. Some of the planned concerts will include tributes to Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” (February 2024), The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (June 2024) and Nirvana’s “Unplugged in New York” (October 2024); nonprofit beneficiaries are to be determined.

“This was, by far, our most ambitious musical project yet, performing the album seamlessly even as the lineup of players changed between songs. The final product was beautifully performed and received,” said Music Compound owner Jenny Townsend. “To be able to present a musical showcase at that level while raising funds for an important organization and cause makes the whole experience even more meaningful for all involved.”