A&O Benefit spotlights local Chicago artists, raises money for Young Chicago Authors


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Rapper Kweku Collins performs at A&O’s Chicago Benefit on Thursday. A&O chose local talent to “celebrate the Chicago music scene.”

Priyanshi Katare, Reporter

Northwestern community members gathered at Evanston SPACE Thursday night to see Chicago artists perform and support the nonprofit Young Chicago Authors at A&O’s third Chicago Benefit.

The benefit featured local artists King Marie, Kweku Collins, Monte Booker and KAINA — a decision Jessica Collins, the co-president of A&O Productions, said was made to “celebrate the Chicago music scene.”

“This year we were looking to showcase the range and diversity of Chicago,” Collins said. “So we were really excited for the lineup as a whole. As a productions group, we wanted to show the range of music present in this city.”

The benefit hasn’t always had a local focus, Collins said. Over the years, it has evolved from an indie music festival into an event that supports local artist communities in Chicago and acts as a platform for smaller artists. Collins added that holding the benefit at SPACE contributed to the “local appeal” of the event.

Both the performers and the beneficiary represent important creative communities in the Chicago area, Collins said. Young Chicago Authors is a nonprofit that works with students to support their writing and poetry and has been extremely formative in curating and supporting the Chicago music scene, Collins said.

“We were very excited to develop this relationship with them,” Collins said. “They are a perfect fit for our goal for this benefit.”

Weinberg senior Rose Aragon said she felt the music was extremely intimate and engaging. She said she loved KAINA’s performance of a Spanish song and felt that she could relate to all of her music.

“The music was personable — it set the tone for the night,” Aragon said.

Medill first-year Julia Wallace chose to attend the benefit to see rapper and former Evanston resident Kweku Collins perform because she attended high school with him.

“Despite the proximity we never interacted,” she said. “I always listen to his music and getting an opportunity to see him perform today was the main selling point for me.”

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Twitter: @KatarePriyanshi

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