What do professional sound men, three up-and-coming artists from disparate genres and an incongruous gazebo-shielded stage on Mayfield Avenue have in common? They all were part of Sigma Nu and Kappa Kappa Gamma’s third annual Snowchella benefit concert.
“It [was] a massive event this year,” admitted Joey Mezzatesta ‘12, one of Sigma Nu’s organizers. Co-organizer James Honsa ‘14 clarified, saying, “We started thinking about the show in August, reaching out to the artists in November, and the contracts were finalized over Christmas break.”
Such an ambitious project required more funding than in the past. While previous years’ events were primarily powered by the Stanford Concert Network, this year’s primary benefactors were Residential Education, coordinated by Amanda Rodriguez, and the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, coordinated by director Ralph Castro as well as Angelina Cardona ‘11.
The grander scale, however, was not meant simply to wow party-fatigued students. Rather, the concert’s goal was to raise funds for Support for International Change, an NGO devoted to fighting HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. Caroline Smith ‘12, the event organizer from Kappa, spearheaded the fundraising efforts due to a long-standing relationship with the organization.
“I volunteered in Tanzania two years ago,” she explained, “and last year, I was the campus coordinator [for recruitment].” This year, she is the U.S. Operations Manager, responsible for organizing the group’s 13 college campus chapters across the country.
Her devotion to the cause did not go unrewarded: the event raised over $6,000 – far exceeding the proceeds of past years.
Of course, that success could not have occurred without the participation of Myndset, After the Smoke and Bassjackers, the three artists who brought the night to life. Before the show, Myndset, an electronic dance DJ, spoke about why he chose to do this particular show.
“They [Sigma Nu] actually offered me two events,” he offered, “and I chose this one because of the charity aspect.” Even though he has no personal connection to HIV/AIDS, for him, “It doesn’t matter what the cause is; [it’s] just [about] promoting the longevity of life at all.”
After the Smoke, a Florida-based band that falls loosely into the category of hip-hop, had a similar take. When asked why they chose Snowchella as their first show on the West Coast, group member Woozy identified the cause, saying, “What we do and what we represent is… helping people…”
Producer Anthony X2 added that he and the group “represent people thinking for themselves and thinking globally.”
In addition to empathizing with the cause, all three artists are trying to increase their exposure. Anthony X2 hopesto “evolve to the next level.”
Meanwhile Myndset wants to perpetuate a producing culture “the way [I] grew up with it” – and expand his fan base, with a particular focus on college students because they are more loyal and more open-minded than other listeners.
As the night began, though, and hundreds of students crowded around the stage to get even closer to the performers, it became difficult to think of the future. Instead, it was a night that existed solely in the present, a present in which, for one night, artist and consumer could unite with Support for International Change and one another to “preserve the longevity of life” for everyone.