When reaching out to people in need, music is a timeless, powerful way to express the benefits of caring for others. The UR Chapter of EMERGENCY USA held their first annual concert in hopes of not only raising funds for their cause but also increasing awareness of their organization. They also provided a night of fun entertainment for the audience, featuring performances from the YellowJackets and Vocal Point to a dance routine from UR Bhangra.  It resulted in an eclectic mix of high-energy performances, all who had volunteered to showcase their talents for the cause.

EMERGENCY USA is an organization that focuses on raising funds to support the establishment of international hospitals to aid victims of war. An overwhelming 90 percent of the victims are civilians, and one in three are children. EMERGENCY operates clinics in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Sudan, and various other countries.  They provide medical care to patients free of charge and since their establishment in 1994 have given treatment to 16 million people.  The proceeds collected at Rochester directly fund the construction and maintenance of these medical clinics. Specifically, the proceeds from the concert will help fund orthopedic nails, or binding for casts, in the Sierra Leone and Afghanistan clinics. Daria Nicol, President of the UR chapter of the organization, noted that “EMERGENCY is funded 70% by private donors like us”. Therefore, public awareness of the group is crucial for its continued success.

Although EMERGENCY’s cause is a serious one, Nicol emphasizes that it is “still a fun group on campus”.  As a result, the concert accomplished a reasonable balance of being informative yet entertaining.  The Yellowjackets got the crowd on their feet with a fun rendition of “Wavin’ Flag/Wakka Wakka” in contrast to Vocal Point’s stirring rendition of “Barton Hollow”. Off Broadway on Campus also performed a scene.  The show additionally featured solo performances from Thomas Varner and Andy Brink. Varner’s acoustic and vocal set featured two original songs, which he chose specifically for the venue, aiming for “upbeat songs about change and progress”. He noted that “it is always satisfying to raise money for something that will do the world a bit of good, and it is incredible to accomplish that just by playing music”. The night concluded with an energetic dance routine from UR Bhangra.  Brian Chang, a member of the group, expressed “Dancing for charity is something that we as a team and as individual dancers, are committed to doing, so we just try to serve whenever we can.”

Overall, the concert was successful in expressing EMERGENCY’s mission.

If you’re interested in contributing to this cause, donations can be given to the Rochester chapter or online at www.emergencyusa.org.  If you desire to join the group or want to find out more information, meetings are held on Tuesdays at 6 in Dewey 2-110.

Kibler is a member of the class of 2017.

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