Amnesty International, a student-run human rights awareness organization at UR, held its annual Jamnesty festival Friday, Nov. 9 at the Community Living Center.

This year, the event was geared toward raising money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and, although the event was free, donations were kindly requested. Amnesty International president and sophomore Miriam Moore stressed that more financial aid must be given to those suffering in the ravaged Gulf Coast area.

The event, lasting from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., boasted a variety of talent across the musical spectrum.

A spectacular performance by co-ed a cappella group After Hours started the night off. The three main soloists, junior Lindsey Alico and sophomores Brian Lobenstine and Doug Butler, sang “The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas,” “Airport Song,” “Where Have You Been?” and “Who Knew.” The musical style of their songs was happy and upbeat.

NeoCollage, a group of Eastman students who pride themselves on their unique artistic fusion of classical and pop music, played a variety of exceptional songs. “Broke,” which was one of the pieces performed, dealt with a creative mixture of hip hop and classical music. Other notable songs included “Crazy/Cool” and “Grunge.”

Finally, the group performed completely improvised material that included “Pulse.” As the night progressed, the audience grew larger and the performance groups left the crowd of about 50 music enthusiasts in awe.

Afterwards, sophomore Ryan McMichael, junior Willem Lutter, sophomore Sam Fishman and sophomore Russel Snyder from Spare Changes presented an unforgettable concert. The instruments – an alto saxophone, guitar, drums and upright bass – harmonically coincided in a melodious fashion. Some of the songs that were played included “Freedom Jazz Dance” and “Rubber Ducky.”

The Jonga Dance Group performed next. The members had matching black outfits and danced to popular Bollywood songs, including a song from the “Taal” soundtrack. They started off with a classical Indian-themed dance and later progressed to more modern forms of Bollywood musical dance.

From midnight to 2 a.m. Pat McLaughlin ’07 showcased his competitive DJ skills as the growing crowd danced to songs from the 1970s up to the present. At about 1 a.m., UR Hip Hop gave its much awaited performance. A member of the group, junior Joel Kajubi, also known as Defacto, was accompanied by fellow rappers “Woodsman” and “Dimitris.”

Their performance started off with an aggressive but humorous freestyle battle which was followed up by UR Hip Hop’s anthem, “Symphony 2000,” which featured talented singers, sophomore Vicky Mesrie and junior Sarah Rogers.

Senior Shane Campbell-Staton, or “Shane the Twisted,” and sophomore Ethan Green then competed head to head in a beat-boxing competition. The rest of the night consisted of the crowd dancing to their favorite hip hop tunes.

Overall, the night’s success was achieved by the unity displayed on behalf of the diverse and talented music and dance performers who all came together to help those afflicted by Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic effects.

Tase is a member of the class of 2010.

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