Hurricane Relief at Cyber-A

While Americans in New York and surrounding areas continued to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, students from across the country in Orange County poured their hearts out over a microphone in support of those affected by the storm. Students and faculty gathered together in the Arts Plaza on Monday night in front of Cyber-A-Cafe for an open mic and silent auction fundraiser entitled “A Night For New York.” Sophomore drama major Lindsay Garber, who was inspired by her drama professor Jane Page to conceive the idea of the fundraiser, worked in collaboration with faculty from the arts to make her idea a reality.

In the first hour of the event, the majority of the acts were centered on New York or somehow related to the natural disaster. Musical theatre students took the stage to belt out songs such as “Autumn in New York” and “New York State of Mind,” with voices worthy of Broadway itself.

The night also showcased a group of performers who re-enacted the opening scene to the Tony Award-winning musical, “In The Heights.”  The “In The Heights” recital spiced up the event with a combination of hip-hop and Latin sounds native to the predominately Latino area of Washington Heights.

While these singers raised their voices in an effort to raise some money, other art students took to the mic with a variety of acts that included poetry readings, guitar solos and spoken word, and shared stories about New York or hurricane experiences. The two poems recited focused on the theme of the event, as both gave personal accounts of hurricane survival. One of the pieces read had the audience chuckling to a surprising retelling of one man’s love poem to Hurricane Sandy, while drama student Ross Prescher delivered a powerful slam poetry piece on his personal experience with Hurricane Katrina.

For some of those in attendance and on stage, the event was personal, as many of them spoke of dreaming about moving to the Empire State or looking to New York as a source of artistic inspiration. For others, the open mic session hit close to home, as a few of them survived through hurricanes themselves.

“A Night For New York” proved to be a community effort, as members of the UC Irvine faculty donated their books or belongings for the silent auction, while the sound and stage managing department in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts donated equipment for the event’s production. Donations can be made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC at www.nyc.gov.