Performance raises $1,000 in relief funds

Elizabeth Campbell

New Orleans jazz belted throughout Cahn Auditorium Sunday night at The Concert for Gulf Coast Aid, the crowning event of the Northwestern Hurricane Relief Task Force’s efforts to raise money for hurricane victims.

The benefit performance raised more than $1,000 for those affected by several recent hurricanes. About 155 students and Chicago-area residents filled one-sixth of the venue, which can hold about 1,000 people.

Despite a small turnout, event organizers were pleased with the success of the student-run event, they said.

“We brought people together,” said Adam Levin, the co-executive director of the event. “It doesn’t matter how many people came.”

Every little bit of aid counts, said Music graduate student Chris Davis.

“It may be a penny to some people, but at least we feel like we did something to support the cause,” he said.

Davis, who has family in Alabama affected by Hurricane Katrina, played the trombone in the NU Jazz Ensemble at the concert.

The jazz music was the “unifying element” of the event, said Levin, a Music and Weinberg senior. Presented by NAYO Dance Ensemble and the School of Music, the event included performances by NAYO, Boomshaka, B.L.A.S.T., Tonik Tap, Acapizzle, Northwestern Community Ensemble, and the School of Music jazz ensemble and soloists.

Ticket prices were $5 for students and $10 for non-students. Student ticket prices were initially planned for $7, but organizers said they thought the lower price would appeal to more students and yield a higher profit margin, said Associated Student Government President Patrick Keenan-Devlin.

Organizers attributed low attendance to the timing of the event – Sunday night after Homecoming and Halloween festivities.

People also are “burnt out in the giving department” with the number of recent natural disasters, said Judith Cooper, assistant director for the Center for Student Involvement.

But the genius of the event was that 100 percent of proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross for hurricane relief, said Miller, who advised student organizers on the concert’s programming.

Starting in early September, the task force coordinated by Keenan-Devlin organized a community-wide collection for hurricane victims. Nineteen boxes of Katrina Kits were sent to a Salvation Army in Dallas.

The second phase of assistance involved fundraising. About $7,400 was raised from canning at football games, collecting donations during the sales of ASG’s NU sweatshirts and holding other events, Keenan-Devlin said. The “Dump the Change” campaign, which enabled students to put coins in containers throughout campus, also contributed to this total.

Approximately $200 was raised through a Sodexho USA- and CSI-sponsored Mardi Gras lunch, Keenan-Devlin said.

Another upcoming task force fundraiser is a play to be performed in Jones Residential College in November.

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