When Robbie Schaefer started his nonprofit to promote peace and cultural awareness, he did it with the assumption that everyone feels the way he does about music.
"Music is the great equalizer. It's something that doesn't know rich or poor, or have or have not," said Schaefer, of Vienna. "I think music in all of us, children or not, speaks to something that is eternal and powerful and deep inside of us that we don't always have words for. And so, it's a way of connecting with each other on a very essential level, and that's incredibly empowering."
He started One Voice, an organization to help connect children from around the world by creating a network of sister schools through the sharing of music.
As part of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax's Benefit Concert Series, Schaefer performed Jan. 27 to raise money for the nonprofit.
Schaefer has had a long career in music, wearing various hats in the industry over the past 20 years. He and his band Eddie From Ohio started as a hit in the Arlington bar scene, which led to a national tour in 1996. The band has since slowed its pace, but the members have continued in music.
In 2004, Schaefer put out a solo album, In The Flesh, and then another, Strange and Lovely World, in 2008. In between the two records, Schaefer fell into the world of children's music after offering himself up to help teach music at his son's preschool. He later put out an album called Songs For Kids Like Us in 2008. His success in the genre led him to hosting the radio show XMKids.
Though he continues to write songs, Schaefer has no firm plans for a new solo album of any genre because he has directed his focus to One Voice. He released a song called "LaLa Love," which came out of a One Voice project from last year, on iTunes the day of the UUCF concert.
He sees music being in his life as far into the future as he can imagine, just as it's been for as far back as he can remember.
"It's always been my best friend," Schaefer said. "It's moved me in that essential way that I talk about with One Voice. I guess I'm making an assumption that it moves everyone in that way, but what I see is that it does."
UUCF will continue its Benefit Concert Series with "The Sounds of Jazz," which will feature performances from the UUCF jazz band and featured guest artists, at 7:30 p.m. March 9.