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Students to perform original music at Dance Marathon Benefit

Dylan Jones (left) and Jack Yakowicz (right) will be performing at a benefit concur this Friday at 9 p.m. Proceeds go to Sanford Children's Hospital in Fargo. Photo by Bobby Person.
Dylan Jones (left) and Jack Yakowicz (right) will be performing at a benefit concur this Friday at 9 p.m. Proceeds go to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo. Photo by Bobby Person.

Singer/songwriter Dylan Jones, a Concordia senior, and writer/rapper Jack Yakowicz, a Concordia junior, began their musical bromance this past summer.

“We met in June and bonded over the fact that we’re two of the only people on campus who write our own lyrics. We’re legitimate fans of each other’s music, so there’s a relationship,” Yakowicz said.

At 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Concordia students can see Jones and Yakowicz’ musical bromance grow. The two Concordia artists will headline a benefit concert hosted by Concordia’s Dance Marathon, a student organization that raises money for children’s hospitals through the Children’s Miracle Network.

Concordia’s Dance Marathon works to raise money for Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, ND. Andy Mackner, the fundraising coordinator of Concordia’s Dance Marathon, said that once funds are raised and distributed, they can serve a variety of purposes for the hospital.

“An example would be the procedure room, where they take children to do important medical tests,” Mackner said. “The room has various things to distract the kids so they don’t feel scared during the procedure. Our donations help with stuff like this.”

Last year, the group gained national recognition from the Children’s Miracle Network for increasing their total funds raised from $3,000 to over $12,000. When planning for this year, Mackner said they aimed even higher.

“Our goal for the year is $15,000,” Mackner said. “We knew we wanted to top last year’s number, and so someone suggested $15,000, and we ran with it.”

In order to accomplish this type of fundraising increase, Mackner said that the committee had to get creative.

“Last year, Betsy (Bjelde, the fundraising co-chair) and I talked about a benefit concert, but it never came to life,” Mackner said. “But, as we set goals (for this year), I realized that I really wanted to make this a reality.”

When envisioning what this event could potentially look like, Mackner pictured an ideal of 500 attendees.

“The Centrum holds 700, but we thought 500 was a fair estimate,” Mackner said. “With that kind of attendance, we could potentially raise almost $3500.”

With these large goals, Mackner went straight to Jones and Yakowicz.

“They both have a large following. Dylan just released an EP and Jack’s got a ton of music,” Mackner said. “People are excited about their stuff.”

Mackner said that highlighting Jones and Yakowicz would highlight a collaborative friendship that had already been growing. Since both are current students, Mackner said that Jones and Yakowicz would draw friends and community members, as well as truly representing the point of a local Dance Marathon fundraiser.

“All this money stays local,” Mackner said. “Concordia artists will create ties between the event and this community.”

Jones and Yakowicz will each play about 45 minutes of music separately, with Yakowicz playing first. The concert will close with their 30-minute collaboration, including the music they began this past summer.

“This will be my first actual gig – one that I booked,” Jones said. “I’m honestly so stoked because I’ve always wanted to do a concert like this.”

Both Jones and Yakowicz will be playing original music at the event, along with covering a few popular songs. According to Yakowicz, the music played will be their most upbeat and uplifting material.

“We just want people to have a good time,” Yakowicz said.

According to Mackner, the process of making this a good time for students was a large undertaking. Since he and the rest of the Dance Marathon committee didn’t feel capable of planning an event this large on their own, Mackner approached the students of Campus Entertainment Commission (CEC) to get their advice and help.

From providing advice on spaces to giving information about the logistics for sound and productions, Mackner said CEC was instrumental in the process.

“They have the resources, knowledge and background to pull this off,” Mackner said. “CEC has been so gracious with their support and help.”

The decision for CEC to help Dance Marathon plan this event was beneficial for Dance Marathon but provided some mutual benefits for CEC as well.

“Since this is the 25th anniversary of Cornstock, we wanted to focus on announcing the whole line-up in one shot. We were looking for an event to announce at – something that fit the theme,” Bainer said.

Therefore, CEC will be revealing the Cornstock line-up – including student opener, hired opener and headliner – at the benefit concert.

Mackner said that he wants to remind people that the event takes place on a very special day – Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a great opportunity for a date,” Mackner said. “Go out to dinner, hear a little music and support your community.”

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