APO: Keeping the music alive

Freshman Olivia Michalak performs a piece on her violin at APO’s second annual “Singin’ to Save the Music,” held on March 11 in the BLC Theater.

By Cathleen Leitch

A group of Rider students has set out to ensure that music continues as an essential part of education for younger generations.

The second annual “Singin’ to Save the Music” was held on March 11 in the BLC theater. It raised over $400 for VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, an initiative aimed at “ensuring that every child has access to a complete education of music instruction,” according to its Web site.

The fundraiser was spearheaded by junior Ali Haugh, who initiated and directed last year’s event, involving the theater fraternity Alpha Psi Omega (APO) and featuring student performers.

“I’m a member of APO so we do all kinds of fundraisers, and we also love music,” she said. “So it seemed obvious to try and organize an event to raise money for music.”

The organization gave permission for both shows. After last year’s successful event, the foundation sent a letter of gratitude to Haugh.

This year Haugh recruited some help to set up the show from freshman Christina Cartaino. The two split up responsibilities so that Cartaino would have the tools to fly solo if need be after Haugh graduates.

This time around, the pair concentrated on doing a lot of public relations to spread word of the event.

They worried about the turnout on a Thursday night but that fear was relieved.

“I think that this year’s show was extremely successful,” Haugh said.

The money raised is used by the Save the Music Foundation to help bring music programs into public schools that can’t afford them otherwise. According to its Web site, while striving to make known the importance of music in children’s lives, the organization has helped over 1,700 schools throughout the nation.

To keep things interesting this year, the show included a wider variety of talents. Last year, most people did vocal performances, but more instruments and humor were added this year.

“Everyone’s doing something different, which is really exciting,” Haugh said.

The talent show included 16 acts and a finale. The show was hosted by juniors Justin Kelly and Brian Long, who also hosted the first charity event last year. The hosts added a comedic tone to the show, in contrast to the somber music.

The show opened with a skit performed by Haugh and Cartaino to “Secondary Characters” from Title of Show. Kelly and Long were involved as well, and the show started on a light tone.

Of the 21 participants, most included vocals in their acts. However, there were a few acts without voice. A duet dance with aerobic moves, several lifts and a strong viola performance were voice-free.

The show featured many acts accompanied by guitar, played in several pieces by senior Tommy Butler. A more unique performance included a ukulele. All performers were APO members, though outside talents were welcome.

A trio performance of “Hallelujah” (originally written and performed by Leonard Cohen) stole the crowd’s attention. One of the final performances by Kyrus Westcott made satirical references to pop-culture and included singing, dancing and mocking from an automated Jesus.

The finale, which included all the talents of the show, had the whole audience clapping along. “If You’re Out There” by John Legend was the song of choice. The finale highlighted some acts with solos including Haugh and Cartaino, who opened and closed the finale.

For Cartaino, saving the music is “all about helping the underprivileged keep music programs.”

These performers seem enthusiastic about this cause committed to ensuring fulfiilling musical experiences for children.

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