SU students sing for Somalia

A capella and performance arts fans fill Schine Underground with music for a cause at the "Songs for Somalia" benefit concert Wednesday.

It was a night of both charm and challenge as SU students used music to help a cause at the benefit concert, "Songs for Somalia," in Schine Underground, Wednesday night.

Seven student acts took the stage singing acapella, reciting poetry and even spiritual miming (miming to gospel music) in tribute to the famine in Somalia. All proceeds from the $5 concert went to direct famine relief through the organization, Valid Nutrition, who distributes nutrition packs in Africa to treat chronic malnutrition.

It is the worst famine in 60 years, Luke Lanciano, president of STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, told a captive audience of close to 50 people. He opened the concert with jarring facts about the famine and drought in the horn of Africa. "Hundreds of thousands of people could be saved but they're not. That's why we're doing this," he said.

Belen Cordon, a freshman international relations major, said she thought the event was a good idea because it's important for people to know what's going on. "Music is one of the ways people listen to what's really going on and how they get really educated and accept things," she said.

Presidents of the African Student Union, the Muslim Student Association and She's the First, joined STAND to cosponsor the event.

Otto Tunes

The talent flowed seamlessly from a moving soloist singing about struggle to a charismatic a capella group, Otto Tunes who instantly pepped up the audience, to a guitarist with a sense of humor.

Before beginning his guitar set, senior Marcus Belmore commented on the wealth of impressive musical talent that had preceded him.

"I feel like a special news bulletin that pops up in the middle of glee," he said.

A spokesperson for Two Degrees nutrition bars, a partner of Valid Nutrition, talked about the product and offered bars for sale to earn more money for the night's cause.

After the performances, Sheila, a woman from Kenya, took the stage to discuss the plight of her part of the world. She shared facts about the number of people suffering, images of severely malnourished children and a troubling video depicting the overcrowded, dismal conditions at a refugee camp hospital in Hagadera, Kenya. The audience of mostly students was silent.

Lanciano ended the melodious evening by calling on the audience to remember those that are suffering as they go into the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We're probably all going to gorge ourselves," he said. "And it's good to keep in mind that there's hundreds of millions of people who can't do that."

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