Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 16, 2024

Harmonies for Hope benefits Relay for Life

By AMANDA AUBLE | November 13, 2014

Hopkins a cappella groups Adoremus, the Sirens, the Mental Notes and the Octopodes performed during this year’s Harmonies for Hope, a concert designed to raise money for the University’s Relay for Life chapter. With a $5 entry fee, special dedication bags for sale and homemade snacks like brownies and cookies available to purchase, Harmonies for Hope raised over $480 for the American Cancer Society.

Held in the Mudd auditorium, the event showcased some talented singers while providing the audience with facts and information about Relay for Life’s mission.

“Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser of the American Cancer society,” senior Lauren Lipshutz, executive co-chair of the Hopkins chapter of the American Cancer Society, said. “It’s a 12-hour walk that we have on the Gilman Quad. Its from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. There’s entertainment, games and fundraising. It’s a really fun time for the whole campus community to come together in support of our cause.”

This year’s Relay for Life will be held during the spring semester, on April 10, 2015. Nevertheless, Harmonies for Hope is Relay for Life’s only fall event that aims to get fundraising started early.

Since this year’s Harmonies for Hope had to compete with this year’s Culture Show held on the same day, there were some vacant seats in the room. However, those who attended had the convenient experience of seeing select a capella groups performing at one venue in a more casual setting. 

“It’s definitely really great getting all [the a cappella groups] to come together,” Lipshutz said. “They’re always really willing to come out and support our cause. The students who come always really enjoy it because they can see all their favorite groups in one place.”

The first to performed was Adoremus, the University’s Christian a cappella group. Sophomore Kevin Wells opened the show, singing along with a rhythmic beatbox backup. Overall, the group maintained an optimistic tone by performing Christian Rock songs like  “Desert song” by Hillsong United and “Beautiful Things” by Grungor.

In between the groups’ sets, freshmen emcees Quan Bui and Noel Abdala-Arata introduced each act with some comical and oftentimes cheesy banter.

Next, the Sirens, with their all-female lineup, opened with a jazzy, dynamic performance of “Feeling Good,” a song originally recorded by Nina Simone in 1965. Soloist Anastasia Moszkowski showcased a soulful, raspy voice as her fellow Sirens shifted from bloistering, emphatic back ups to soft, slowed harmonies as the song progressed.

Proving their expansive genre range, the Sirens also performed ‘70s rock song “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas as well as Boys Like Girls’s 2007 pop-punk song “Great Escape.”

Bui and Abdala-Arata then announced a brief intermission and introduced the three Relay for Life executive co-chairs to present their cause to the audience.

“So we thought we’d take this time to talk about one of the major ceremonies we have the night of,” sophomore Daniel Dembner said. “Its called our Luminaria Ceremony, and we do this to honor those survivors, those still fighting and those who lost their fight to cancer. During the night at dusk we have these bags that you can buy outside for $10. We’ll write down the names of someone you’re relaying for, and then we’ll put glow sticks in them during the ceremony to show that their light’s still shining.”

The co-chairs interacted with audience and asked everyone to stand who planned on relaying for family, friends, pets or simply to fight cancer. They also revealed this year’s Relay for Life theme, “Send Cancer to Neverland,” thereby making sense of the small auditorium sporting Disney decorations.

“Our goal this year is $55,000 so that’s what we’re shooting for. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of support on April 10,” Lipshutz said.

The first group to take the stage after the short intermission was the comical, original Mental Notes. Dressed in their signature oversized Hawaiian shirts, the a capella group began with sophomore Hunt Griffith singing B.o.B’s “Magic.”

However, this was the only pop-song the mental notes performed, as they quickly transitioned to their original material. Songs “If You’re Into That” and “This Final Sucks” drew big laughs from the small audience.

While they exited the stage, the Mental Notes also promoted the fact that their own fall solo concert would be held Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bloomberg auditorium.

Harmonies for Hope ended with the talented Octopodes taking the stage. Ending on a powerful but equally delicate rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” the Octopodes proved their vocal control.

For now, Harmonies for Hope marks the end of Relay for Life’s fall fundraising, but the Hopkins chapter plans to restart its efforts in the spring.

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