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Musical fundraiser supports Hoban Kosovo trip

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Archbishop Hoban High School teachers Greg Milo and Hannah Clark, both of West Akron, recorded Blingin’ Ohio Beauty, a collection of original songs, under the name 8 Eyes.
Micah Kraus did the album art for 8 Eyes’ recording, which is available on iTunes.
Photos courtesy of Greg Milo
WEST AKRON — When Greg Milo traveled to Kosovo with a group of Catholic schoolteachers from around the U.S. in 2006, it left him with the desire to return.

“It was such a war-torn area and tensions were so high, but there were organizations that were student led and student focused, kids from Serb and Albanian backgrounds, leading the charge,” he said. “When I saw kids taking the lead, that really impacted me quite a bit. That’s why I always had in the back of my mind to get students, at least a handful, over there to experience that.”

Now Milo, a social studies teacher at Archbishop Hoban High School, is working with his colleague Micah Kraus, an art teacher, toward taking a group of Hoban students to the region in April. Both are West Akron residents.

Six students are currently slated to make the trip, Milo said.

Kraus suggested that students use photography as a way to document their experience so they can bring it back to the Akron community.

“We wanted the students, instead of just going and looking and being secondary observers, to get more involved and to work through the differences and solutions in order to create that firsthand experience,” Milo said.

To help defray the cost of the trip, Milo wanted to come up with a fundraiser that would be unique.

“I was reluctant to do anything like a car wash or a spaghetti dinner or bake sale,” he said.

The result is Blingin’ Ohio Beauty, a collection of original songs that Milo recorded with his fellow Hoban teacher and West Akron resident Hannah Clark under the name 8 Eyes. It’s now available at iTunes for $9.99. Kraus did the cover art for the project.

“The funny thing is the writing and recording has been the easiest part,” said Milo, who is trying to get the word out about the project. “We like alternative sounds, so it’s a pretty good mix — anything from upbeat funky to something a little more avant garde.”

Milo and Clark are also working on a set of music so they can play live in the future. And Milo said it’s possible he’ll have CDs made of the recording for sale for those who like their music on that format.

Meanwhile, Milo is in touch with some of the contacts he made when he visited Kosovo with Catholic Relief Services, and he plans to check in on them during the trip.

“The real goal for the project is to research and learn more about these groups that focus on conflict management and tolerance,” he said.

Milo said that since his travels there, Kosovo has been recognized by some countries as independent, but there are still rifts about the nation’s status with Serbia. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008.

For more information about Milo’s project, contact Milo at milog@hoban.org.

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