Curing cancer with the power of music
Benefit concert supports Relay for Life UConn in SU Theater
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 00:03
The rainstorm on Tuesday evening didn’t deter the audience for UConn Relay for Life’s “Rock Out for Relay” awareness concert and fundraiser, which took over the Student Union Theater.
“Rock Out for Relay” was held to raise awareness for the upcoming annual Relay For Life on Wednesday, April 5. Tee shirts and ribbons in shades of purple, a staple of the cancer cause, were given out to attendees, and were worn by several performers. Chordials singer and American Cancer Society representative Shannon Hughes, a fourth-semester communications disorder major, has been involved with the cancer cause since her freshman year of high school. “There’s a long history of cancer [in my family]… and I wanted to make a difference,” she said.
The Rolling Tones kicked off the first annual awareness “concert for the cure,” which featured a variety of UConn musical acts, with a co-ed a cappella rendition of Train’s “Drive By.” Subsequent a cappella groups also featured lively tunes by contemporary pop artists – the co-ed Notes Over Storrs sang the Plain White Tees’ “Rhythm of Love” – but several other genres graced the stage through the night. Not only did the all-female Chordials present a collection of country and folk-influenced songs a la Mumford & Sons and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, but every group featured a 1960s classic rock song. Later in the night, the blazer-clad men of Completely Different Note wrapped up as the final a cappella group.
Between the mix of singing groups was UConn’s Rock Ensemble. The Ensemble, a club comprised of brass musicians, vocalists, guitarists, a keyboardist and a drummer, threw a theater-shaking cover of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” followed by duet versions of songs by Bruno Mars and Pat Benatar. At several brief intermissions throughout the night, drummer Jonathan Singngam entertained the crowd with stand-up comedy. The UConn Marching Band’s Funky Dawgz, a New Orleans-style brass band, brought additional instrumental funk later in the night.
Also in the performing mix was the multi-cultural dance team Alima. Team President Michaela McCormick, a sixth-semester healthcare management student, said that the team routinely performs at, and participates in, the Relay for Life at UConn. “We were gonna make our own [relay] team, but we ended up joining with another team,” she said. “There are a good amount of us participating this year.”
Whitney Washburn, a sixth-semester physiology and neurobiology major, formed her relay team “Keep on Smiling” amongst her group of friends. “Pretty much everyone I know knows a cancer survivor,” she said, and encouraged any interested students to sign up right away.
Shannon Hughes recommended that any student wishing to get involved should visit relayforlife.org/UCONN, and “sign up!”
The projected fundraising goal for 2013 is $70,000, and the April event will feature even more musical entertainment. Relay for Life UConn is a branch event of a national arm of the American Cancer Society, which diverts funds raised by relays and other events towards cancer research and cure development.