Lupus benefit concert showcases student music

Monday, April 18, 2016 - 8:48pm

Two student groups organized a free outdoor concert featuring student performers Monday in the Diag. Stamp Nation — a group focused on cultivating a community of artists on campus — partnered with PILOT — which aims to build leadership and community on campus — to raise awareness for lupus and to showcase students’ musical talents.

Stamp Nation has organized a concert on the Diag at least once a year since its founding in 2013, but this was the first concert organized in collaboration with another student group to raise awareness about a disease.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissues and organs. Common symptoms of Lupus include chronic fatigue, fever, joint pain and butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. It is estimated that at least 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, and there are more than 16,000 new cases every year.

Women of color are especially susceptible to lupus, as they are approximatley two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasian women. Stamp Nation co-president Devika Reddy, a Music, Theatre & Dance sophomore, said since Stamp Nation membership is highly multicultural, pointing to the importance of raising awareness for lupus. 

“Lupus primarily affects minority women,” Reddy said. “And considering our group is very (ethnically) diverse … we thought it would be relevant.”

PILOT member Greg de Leon, an engineering junior, said the group was initially motivated to advocate for the issue because one of the group's members has a family member who suffers from the disease.

“That opened up the floor to other PILOT members who also knew someone with lupus,” de Leon said. “So then we decided to do something to raise awareness.”

The two organizations sold raffle tickets throughout the event, from which the proceedings will go towards the Lupus Foundation of America.

The concert showcased a variety of genres from six bands and performers — Gravity Club, Fallow Land, DeNero Montez, 2faced, Zephure, and Aash Mehta — ranging from indie to electronic dance music.  

Gravity Club violinist Avery Bruni, an engineering and Music, Theatre & Dance senior, in an interview prior to the concert said he is looking forward to seeing and listening to the other performers.

“It would be a fun exhibition of all the different artists and student musicians,” Bruni said.

The two members of 2faced, LSA senior Andrea Holther-Cruz and engineering senior Prabhu Ragunathan, said they wanted to play for the concert because the concert aimed to promote an important issue and provided both Holther-Cruz and Ragunathan a final opportunity to showcase their music on campus as graduating seniors.

“I don’t want to regret not playing for a big show,” Ragunathan said. “(Today is) also the last day of college for us.”

Social Work graduate student Rachel Ray said she was unaware of the concert prior to Monday night, but she decided to stop by after her class to enjoy the weather and the music.

“I was walking back from class … and the Diag is on the way home,” Ray said. “It’s a beautiful weather, and it seems like everyone is enjoying the outdoors.”