While others were interning and doing research for their senior projects, New Albany High School senior Laura Chamberlain was planning an event to help sick children at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Heart Center.

While others were interning and doing research for their senior projects, New Albany High School senior Laura Chamberlain was planning an event to help sick children at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Heart Center.

Chamberlain, a singer and performer, organized last Thursday's benefit concert, "Playing from the Heart," held at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

Students in elementary through high school performed 10 acts, ranging from solo dance pieces to rock-band performances to an a cappella ensemble.

Students auditioned earlier in April at $50 a try to raise money for the hospital.

She said her goal was to raise $10,000 from audition fees, admission to the event and corporate and individual sponsors.

She said she wouldn't have a total of how much the event raised until May or June because other events would benefit the project.

Chamberlain paired up with New Albany parent David Dennis, who is also on the board of the Benefit Concert Association, to plan the event.

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do," Chamberlain said about choosing a senior project -- a requirement to graduate at NAHS.

She said she was talking to her principal, Scott Stewart, and he mentioned the possible partnership between her and Dennis.

"I had no idea what I was getting into," she said.

Chamberlain said she and Dennis started working on the show in September. At the time, she decided she wanted to make it a talent show. She said a lot of work went into planning the show, including getting a venue, finding sponsors and performers and organizing the show order.

"The hardest part was asking people for money," she said.

"Playing from the Heart" sponsors included Verizon Wireless, SBC Advertising, Huntington Bank, Graves Piano & Organ Co. and Plaskolite.

The Verizon stores in New Albany and at the StoneRidge Plaza store in Gahanna will donate a portion of their proceeds from both newly activated phones and new phones on an existing plan to the "Playing from the Heart" event.

Dennis said he had talked to Stewart last year about bringing a benefit concert to New Albany.

"Scott was very enthusiastic about it and thought it would be a good idea to offer it up to somebody as a senior project," Dennis said. "He identified Laura, who, he thought, was one of the strongest seniors to handle the project. I thought it would take five or six seniors, but she wanted to take it on herself."

Chamberlain, who served as master of ceremonies for the concert with sophomore Luke Gallant, said she was excited to be on stage.

During the event, she entertained the audience, telling jokes between acts.

"I've emceed events before," she said. "When it comes to organizing an event that was all different."

The winner, who was not announced during last week's show, will get an opportunity to perform during a broadcast of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon on May 30 and then appear at the Benefit Concert Association's 20th annual benefit concert June 1 at the Hyatt on Capital Square.

Sophomore Garrett White performed a dance piece he had choreographed to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

"I wanted to participate because I love to perform," White said.

He said he thought the fact that Chamberlain had organized the entire event was mind-blowing.

"It was just so cool someone my age is able to do something like that," he said.