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University stands up for Haiti with benefit concert

youngatheartA combination of local and student performers will take the stage to raise funds for the Haiti relief effort tonight at a benefit concert hosted by the University of Massachusetts.

Proceeds from the “Stand up for Haiti Benefit Concert” will go directly to Partners in Health (PIH), a non-profit healthcare organization based in Boston, Mass.

PIH has been working on the ground in Haiti since 1985, developing a model for community-based health care designed to treat infectious diseases and provide basic medical services to impoverished communities. Over the last 20 years, PIH has expanded its efforts to nine different countries, becoming a leader in providing accessible healthcare in many of the world’s poorer areas. 

Following the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, PIH immediately launched “Stand with Haiti,” a campaign to raise money and recruit qualified medical professionals to assist in the relief effort.

At the time of the disaster, PIH’s Zanmi Lasante project in Haiti was one of the first responders to the crisis. The Zanmi Lasante team will be assisting the Haitian Ministry of Health, by designation of the World Health organization, to run medical operations at the public University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the island nation’s capital.

Funds raised by the concert will help PIH purchase basic medical supplies that are in desperate short supply.

“They don’t have the supplies they need. But there’s a lot of Haitian health professionals, doctors, nurses, aides who would like to [do their job], but to do that you need the supplies,” said Dr. Paul Farmer, a cofounder of the organization, in a recent blog post on the PIH website. “You have to have the basics. Gauze, plaster or other castes. You have to have the equipment that you need. Anesthesia, pain medications, antibiotics. And that’s what some of my medical colleagues are asking us for, supplies.”        

Tonight’s concert is part of a larger campaign by the University to mobilize the campus in support of the Haiti relief effort. The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life and the International Programs Office (IPO), as well as other campus organizations, are all working together to coordinate fund raising events and collect donations.

Student groups such as the UMass Step Team and the DooWop Shop will be among those lending their talents to “Stand Up.” Perennial local favorite the Young at Heart Chorus will also be in attendance, as will songsters Erin McKeown, Joe Velez and Creacion and a slew of other performers. Musical acumen is not a prerequisite for performing at the benefit. Haitian American poet Lenelle Moise, whose spoken word album “Madivinez” won the Patchwork Majority Radio Album Award for Best Solo Album in 2007, will appear at the event.

With a diverse range of highly talented performers, tonight’s show is a must see for anyone who wants to experience a first-rate concert, and also wants to help a good cause.

For those who are unable to attend the Stand with Haiti Benefit Concert but still want to contribute to the relief effort, donations can be made to Partners in Health at    

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the concert hall of the UMass Fine Arts Center. Tickets for the event will cost $20 for students, and will cost $10 for youth under 17-years-old. Tickets can be purchased at the box office and online at, or by calling 545-2511.

For more information on the concert visit the Fine Arts Center website at

Andrew Cogan can be reached at

One Response to “University stands up for Haiti with benefit concert”
  1. I normally jump all over the ‘net because I have the tendancy to read often (which isn’t always a great idea because most blogs just copy from each other) but I want to say that yours contains some real substance! Thanks for stopping the trend of just being another copycat site! 😉

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