Review by Emily Kaufman
On Friday, April 13, Niagara University presented "Sing for Somalia," a benefit concert organized by NU junior Jeannine Alsous.
The benefit aimed to raise money and awareness for Somalia, a nation in need of political and financial stability. In 2011, Niagara University College of Business Administration faculty member Dr. Abdiweli Ali accepted the position as prime minister of Somalia. Alsous, along with faculty and student volunteers, organized the event as part of Niagara University's "Mission Somalia" campaign to aid Ali.
The concert raised more than $1,500 for Somalia and sold more than 300 tickets. At the event, attendees could purchase T-shirts, wristbands, and tickets for a raffle basket drawing.
The six-hour concert showcased NU students and local artists from the U.S. and Canada.
Tavon Rowe was one of the NU student performers. Rowe writes original rap lyrics and slam poetry and produces his own hip-hop music. He has released five mixtapes within the past two years.
When asked why he volunteered to perform, Rowe commented, "I have always been keen to giving back in any way I can. I am not financially able to donate to organizations and causes that I feel are important and relevant, so by giving my time, music and creativity to the cause, I still support in any way I can."
For the performing artists, the concert became an outlet for additional musical exposure while simultaneously supporting a relevant cause. The benefit also united and brought the university and local community together under one cause.
According to Rowe, the concert was especially successful because it used music to unify communities. "People come from all walks of life, all types of cultural backgrounds and various languages. Music, like math, is a universal language. You have those who speak hip-hop, those who speak country, those who speak techno, and so on," he said.
The energized crowd and overall inspirational atmosphere gave the event the feeling of success and motivation.
"I think this event will show Dr. Ali that there are students who are dedicated to the cause and want to give whatever they can to support. Music, time, money, anything that will support the cause," Rowe said.
To make a donation for "Mission Somalia" go to http://www.oxfamamerica.org/SomaliaRelief.