Memorial service, concert scheduled to remember Richman

Janette Neuwahl

Less than two weeks after what would have been his 19th birthday, friends and family of Northwestern student Jonah Richman are paying tribute to him through a memorial service and benefit concert played by one of his favorite local bands.

In mid-August, Richman, who would have been a Medill sophomore, and three of his closest friends drowned while trying to rescue a struggling counselor at Split Rock Falls in New York state. The four, all counselors at Camp Baco in Minerva, N.Y., were off from work that day.

With the help of Hillel Rabbi Michael Mishkin and University Chaplain Timothy Stevens, Weinberg sophomore Jeremy Kanefsky organized a memorial service for students to remember Richman. The service will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 18 in Coon Forum.

Kanefsky said he and a few other friends, many of them members of Phi Delta Theta — Richman and Kanefsky’s fraternity — will speak about Richman “to allow people who didn’t know him well to put some closure on everything, not necessarily for people who did know him to move on with their lives, but to get a better understanding of him and for us to move on a little bit.”

Kanefsky and Richman met when they were 12. They attended camp together from seventh grade until the summer of 2002, and Kanefsky was friends with all four of the boys.

The fraternity wanted to do something in addition to the memorial service to remember Richman. Phi Delt member Frank Myers decided he would use his involvement in A&O Productions to memorialize Richman with a concert.

Myers, a Weinberg sophomore, began working in August to bring to campus the Chicago jazz and funk band Umphrey’s McGee. The six-member band is known for its variety of music and great lighting demonstrations during concerts, Myers said.

The concert will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 in Ryan Family Auditorium. Tickets go on sale today at the Norris Box Office and cost $10 for students. Money raised will go to the Baco Boy Fund, a philanthropy set up by the four boys’ families that will send underprivileged kids to camp.

Myers, who lived next door to Richman last year, remembered him as fun and a music lover.

“The whole point of the concert is to remember (Richman) through something fun and so that even kids who didn’t know him can learn about what kind of kid he was,” Myers said. “He’d be happy to know a bunch of kids are going to listen to good music.”

The concert is sponsored by A&O Productions, Mayfest, the Residence Hall Association, Phi Delta Theta and Bobb Hall.

“A lot of people think A&O is a business, but we’re a student group just like everyone else,” said Natasha Little, the group’s chairwoman. “This concert is a good chance for A&O to give back to the NU community.”