A&O, DM host annual Benefit concert


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Students cheer for the artists during A&O Productions and Dance Marathon’s annual Benefit Concert held on Norris University Center’s East Lawn. This year’s concert featured synth rock band Magic Man and indie rock band Cheers Elephant.

Rebecca Savransky, Campus Editor

Students came out to Norris University Center’s East Lawn on Saturday with blankets and high energy, ready to take advantage of Benefit, the annual outdoor music event.

The concert is held as a collaboration between A&O Productions and Dance Marathon to raise money for DM and to encourage students to come outside to enjoy the music.

The event featured synth rock band Magic Men, who opened the concert, and indie rock band Cheers Elephant as the show’s headliner.

A&O spokeswoman Rosalind Mowitt, a Weinberg senior said the event was held to draw students outside and had a different feel than last weekend’s Philfest, an outdoor concert ​​that was a collaboration between A&O and Students for Ecological and Environmental Development.

“Its primary purpose is to kind of be a concert outside and to celebrate spring in a way that’s a little different from Philfest, a little more high energy, in the tradition of kind of more of a festival style concert,” Mowitt said.

Although entry was free, there was a $5 suggested donation. Money was raised through the sale of original posters as well, which Mowitt said had been selling well throughout the day.

“Every year the poster design is completely different,” Mowitt said. “It’s a really beautiful poster so it’s kind of a commemorative item for you to take away from the concert, and of course the proceeds go to a good cause.”

DM spokesman Ross Gordon, a Medill junior, said the group also organized small activities during the event to raise money for DM. Between the two artist’s sets, a water pong table was set up as part of the effort to raise funds and to give students an activity during the intermission.

Gordon said the event served as a great opportunity to kick off the group’s fundraising efforts.

“We’ve started our canning already and it’s just always a great way to start off the 2015 fundraising season with this great collaboration with A&O,” Gordon said. “Just trying to get people outside, being active and enjoying the nice weather that we finally have.”

Energy remained high throughout the day as students continued to trickle in and out of the Lakefill area. Students lounged outside of Norris and crowded up by the stage as the bands engaged with the audience.

A&O concerts chair Morgan Hecht, a Communication junior, said she was enjoying the band’s set, adding that students had been expressing excitement about the featured artists at this year’s event.

“For concerts, Benefit is one of our favorite shows just because we can bring bands that we love, and everyone may not know them yet,” Hecht said. “Magic Man and Cheers Elephant have a following, and a lot of people came up to us and said, ‘Oh, I’m so excited about Magic Man,’ or, ‘I’m so excited about Cheers Elephant,’ because they’re great performers and people like their music.”

Prior to the start of the concert, an announcement was made at NU Gives Back, a student-run day of service held Saturday morning, encouraging students to attend Benefit.

Weinberg sophomore Dean Meisel said after volunteering for NU Gives Back, the concert served as a great opportunity to unwind for the rest of the day.

“It’s a super nice day and the bands sounded great, and we are just relaxing after NU Gives Back,” Meisel said. “This is kind of the perfect thing to do to chill out in the afternoon.”

Mowitt said there was a great turnout, and the co-sponsorship between A&O and Dance Marathon gave the event the added benefit of helping an important organization in addition to drawing students outside to relax and enjoy the weather.

“It’s definitely in the spirit of collaborating with other great organizations on campus. We always really love working with DM,” Mowitt said. “It’s kind of like a concert first and then we also have the great opportunity of it being a philanthropy.”

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