There was a feeling of solidarity in Strong Auditorium on Jan. 21. Large numbers of UR students turned out to see Rock Out for Leukemia Research, a collaborative benefit concert for Allison Eberhardt (2014).
Eberhardt, a member of the class of 2014, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in September 2011. She is a member of Vocal Point and No Jackets Required and was recognized in the “Top Ten Most Powerful Cancer Stories of 2011” by The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.
Eberhardt said. “I’m so happy with how the concert turned out. It was so exciting to see how many people showed up to support me, not to mention everyone who spoke, performed and co-sponsored. I can’t thank everyone enough; the final outcome of this concert was more than I could have ever imagined, and I hope it inspired people to help support such a great and important cause.”
The concert was emceed by junior Lindsay Forbes and sophomore Greg Corrado. The duo kept things moving in a lively way, introducing the performing groups and presenting facts about cancer.
No Jackets Required opened the concert. This was fitting for the group, as Eberhardt was their musical director. The band looked to get the crowd enthused with a rousing performance of “Money Grabber.” This was followed by an entertaining version of the song “Just the Two of Us.”
Renaissance & Global Committee Chair Philip Bradley, followed the musical act with a speech about Eberhardt. He is a Renaissance & Global Scholar. Bradley emphasized Eberhardt’s courage, describing her as an “upbeat” and “fiery” person unafraid to speak her mind. For the members of the audience who do not know Eberhardt personally, Bradley’s speech was a way to get a sense of her as a person.
UR Bhangra continued the concert with an upbeat, well-choreographed performance. This was followed by After Hours, UR’s co-ed a cappella group. They sang a fun version of pop artist Mika’s “Grace Kelly.” The liveliness of this song was in stark contrast to the next musical number, the somber “Mad World” by Gary Jules. This song especially highlighted the superb harmonization of the group. The set was concluded with Lady Gaga’s “You and I.” All of the songs were executed with spot-on vocals.
Even though it was not what most students expected to hear on their Saturday night, the subsequent presentation on Leukemia was appropriate due to the nature of the concert. Hematologist Ronald Sham outlined the basic facts about Leukemia, such as the two categories of the disease (acute and chronic), the types within these categories and more. He spoke about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to which many of the proceeds are being donated. The
society conducts research and provides patient support to those with blood cancer. Most importantly, Dr. Sham recognized what peers and friends can do to support Eberhardt: Have a positive attitude, be knowledgeable and give her friendship and love.
The dance team Indulgence provided a solid routine. Disappointingly, the YellowJackets did not perform, citing a shortage of members due to their “transition period.”
Following a short intermission was a performance by the Midnight Ramblers. As always, the Ramblers were energetic and theatrical while maintaining vocal acuity. They sang Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” Nylons’ “Kiss Him Goodbye,” and, most aptly, Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up.”
Vocal Point was next to perform. All members of the group donned “Sing for a Cure” T-shirts. Their performance was especially poignant and thoughtful. They took to the stag we with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” perhaps a testament to Eberhardt’s positive attitude and determination.
This was followed by what Vocal Point describes as one of their trademark songs, “Still in Love” by Brian McKnight. The song showcased strong harmonization and vocal purity. Vocal Point concluded with an emotionally moving rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “I Won’t Let Go,” the last song that Eberhardt arranged before her diagnosis.
Concertgoers were then treated to a video message from Eberhardt herself.
In it she spoke of her pending anxiousness to get back to campus, her optimism about the future and her thankfulness for everyone’s support. Eberhardt’s emotional strength in the video was incredibly inspiring.
No Jackets Required took to the stage to close the show, first performing Chuck Berry’s “Roll over Beethoven.”
The final song of the concert was Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” an excellent choice to get the audience upbeat and energetic. Indeed, the concert left one feeling not saddened or frustrated by Eberhardt’s diagnosis, but hopeful and excited to help and support her in her recovery.