On Saturday, a large group of students from the Granada Music & Arts Conservatory and Santa Barbara Strings gathered at Girls Inc. in Goleta to present a check for $4,400 to Direct Relief International to benefit the victims of January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The donation came from ticket sales to the Feb. 13 “Hearts for Haiti: A Young Musicians Benefit Concert.” The fundraiser featured performances by more than 50 students from the two programs who were also responsible for organizing and producing the concert.

It was a particularly touching presentation in which Direct Relief board member Dr. Ayesha Shaikh received the check on behalf of the organization. Shaikh welled with emotion during poetry readings by conservatory students , and former Santa Barbara poet laureate and 19-year conservatory instructor Perie Longo, who recited a poem written by Shaikh’s daughter, a conservatory alumna.

Sio Tepper, a seven-year conservatory student, presented the check to Shaikh.

A 17-year-old senior at Santa Barbara High School who has won numerous piano competitions, Tepper was very involved in the planning and production of the concert, during which she performed a movement from Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor with other students from the conservatory’s chamber ensemble.

“I was lucky to be a fly on the wall when the kids were sitting outside conceiving of and planning this benefit concert,” conservatory parent Greg Pantages said. “We have a stellar group of students and parent volunteers, all creatively proactive.”

The relationship between the Granada Music & Arts Conservatory and Direct Relief International stretches back two decades. Conservatory founder Lana Bodnar received the funds to launch the original Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory from Patricia Halloran, a former Direct Relief board member, in 1990.

This year, the conservatory celebrates its 20-year anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the program’s end-of-year concert, the “Young Soloists Showcase,” which will be held April 25.

— Vincent Coronado is the marketing director for The Granada.