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Southern raises money to provide relief for Haiti

03/09/2010
By:

Catherine Groux

Photo Editor

Directly after the earthquake struck Haiti, all senior sociology major Ashiah Richeme could do was wait. Constantly watching the news, hoping to see a familiar face, the Haitian student said she was desperate to hear about her family members in Haiti, particularly her grandmother.
“The hardest part for me was the waiting period,” she said. “I didn’t want to wait anymore to hear a word. Every morning you’re just waiting for a phone call that doesn’t come.”
However, as Richeme shared with audience members at last week’s Haiti Relief Benefit Concert, her grandmother was found alive, having survived under the rubble of her home for about a week. Unfortunately, she said, many of her other family members did not survive.
Having been personally affected by the earthquake, Richeme said she felt it was important to share her story in front of the concert’s crowd, who listened to her with tears in their eyes.
“I think when you donate and give money to children and things of that nature,” Richeme said, “you’re doing it for a good cause, but you’re not really seeing who you are affecting. It’s more than just giving a dollar; it’s more than just throwing a concert. Seeing someone who was affected gives you an understanding of why you’re giving.”
The Haiti Relief Benefit Concert was held in Engleman Hall and featured music from the University Band, the Jazz Ensemble, the Latin Ensemble, the Blues Ensemble and the Creative Music Orchestra. The event was sponsored by Zeta Delta Epsilon in collaboration with the Haiti Relief Committee and the SCSU Music Department.
Junior journalism major Makayla Silva, a Zeta Delta Epsilon member, came up with the idea to hold the concert, basing it off of a concert held at Yale University only days after the earthquake hit Haiti. Calling the event a truly collaborative effort, she said she did not have trouble convincing Southern’s various bands and ensembles to perform, only in finding a date in which they could perform.
“There were a lot of problems with the dates,” Silva said. “One day the band couldn’t perform and another day the choir couldn’t perform so it was like everyone was cutting back because they all wanted to perform. Every musical ensemble wanted to perform, it was just a matter of having their performance there on the given date.”
However, once agreeing upon the date, musicians present said they felt it was important to attend, although having no personal connection with the Haitian tragedy.
Sophomore English major Sam Carlson, who performed with the Creative Music Orchestra, said the event helped the group musically, while also helping those suffering in Haiti.
“It was worth the time,” he said. “For us, musically speaking, it was better than we thought it would be. We performed better than we ever did in rehearsal.”
Junior elementary education major Rachael Bedard, who played clarinet for the University Band during the concert, said the concert was not only musically inspirational, but hopefully also inspirational for the SCSU campus community.
“I think it was important to show a lot of members on this campus that we, as a campus, also support Haiti and to show what little things we can do,” Bedard said. “We raised a good $500, and even though that is a little amount, it still shows that we as students can give back what we have.”
Audience members, such as senior nursing major Kelly Owsianko, also said they hoped the event would make the SCSU community realize it could help Haiti in small ways.
“Especially with Haiti, and now Chile, they need as much help as they can get from the United States,” Owsianko said. “Southern contributing to a small portion of that is something we all need to do and think about.”
Regardless of the reasons students and musicians chose to attend the Haiti Relief Benefit Concert, Richeme said it was an event for which she and her family are truly grateful.
“The fact that you gave money, the fact that you went to a concert in the name of Haiti, I left class to come because I appreciate that,” she said.

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