Concert benefits tsunami victims

By Lila McDowell

The performance was organized so quickly that many students at the C-Shop were surprised to see that 12 University of Chicago musical and improvisational groups had pulled together to perform and raise money to donate to tsunami relief funds. Students coming in from the cold to sip hot coffee were serenaded by songs from MAJN, Ransom Notes, Men In Drag, and Voices in Your Head, just to name a few.

The musical acts of the evening also included Aristocratic Octopus, Rhythm ‘n’ Jews, and Soul Umoja. “The C-Shop is a central location, and free, thanks to ORCSA,” said co-organizer Beth Malinowski. “Since it is also a coffee shop and study spot you have a chance of catching people that wouldn’t normally come to this kind of concert.” The repertoire included everything from gospel to new order to Ben Folds Five.

Manoah Finston of Ransom Notes provided some insight as to what the groups hoped to achieve by participating. “This gives us a great opportunity to sing for a good cause, and it’s exactly what college a cappella is there for—to make great music for an appreciative audience, and know that our efforts really have a lasting value.”

Some students opted to perform alone, like Swathi Reddy, a first-year from Oak Brook, Illinois. “I’ve been performing for almost 10 years now,” Reddy said. “And I heard about this and realized that this dance was perfect since it’s native to India.”

In addition to Reddy’s solo dance pieces were performances by the three-student band, 12 for 9, as well as by second-year bagpipe player Alexandra King. The improvisation groups Off-Off Campus and Occam’s Razor played games with the audience.

Donation boxes at each entrance, a basket that circulated throughout the room, and a bake sale all gave students the opportunity to donate a few dollars to the cause. Organizers Malinowski, Michael Elsworth, and Jewish Action Network chair Aya Levkowitz must have been pleased with the results: $1058, all of which will go to the International Red Cross/Red Crescent. They say their goal is to raise $1 for every U of C undergraduate.

Students who missed Tuesday’s concert and are interested in attending a tsunami relief event will be happy to know that there will be several other campus events where they can make donations. The next few weeks will bring a study break at Hutch, a food and used clothing sale inside the Reynolds Club, and an enormous game of musical chairs hosted at the Henry Crown field house.