Five performing groups joined together Saturday night in Battell Chapel for a benefit concert meant to increase campus awareness of Ebola and fundraise for disease relief.
Held by the School of Music, the concert featured the Yale Symphony Orchestra, the Yale Concert Band, the Yale Alley Cats, Asempa (!) and Shades of Yale in a night of music and solidarity for the three West African nations affected by the epidemic. The concert was organized by the Yale Ebola Task Force, a recently formed organization on campus that seeks to engage the Yale community in the current health crisis. In addition to raising financial resources to support Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the event was also a chance to show students and faculty ways in which they help in the fight against Ebola.
“I believe music brings people together,” said Winnie Wang ’15, a member of both the YSO and the Yale Ebola Task Force.
Wang suggested during the task force’s first meeting that a benefit concert would be a good way to bring together different spheres of the Yale community to tackle Ebola. Along with other students on the task force, she engaged social media and networks in order to get the word out about the concert, and then began to contact groups that she believed might potentially be interested in performing.
According to Branford College Master and Director of the Yale Global Health Initiative Elizabeth Bradley, who also leads the Ebola Task Force, it was easy to find groups willing to take part in the concert, as people want to do all they can to help the cause.
The cost of attendance was $5 for all. Bradley said that the money raised would be donated to major NGOs — including Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health and Americares — that are working on the ground in West Africa to contain the outbreak.
Other sponsors of the event included the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, the Yale African Students Association and the Yale Public Health Coalition.
“Especially with the Ebola crisis, it is crucial for everyone who wants to help to show solidarity on all fronts,” said Patrick Ng ’16, co-president of the Yale Public Health Coalition. “PHC believes that it is time to take action, and we believe the Ebola Task Force is taking the right steps in addressing the Ebola crisis.”
PHC, along with other sponsors, helped with publicity, rallied students and spread the word about the event around campus. Ng added that the concert served as a powerful demonstration of nascent campus-wide efforts to address the Ebola crisis.
Those in attendance interviewed expressed significant interest in helping stifle the health crisis.
“Ebola is a very important health crisis, and we’ve been focusing on actions in the U.S. when really we need to do more in Africa itself,” health care worker Elizabeth Levy ’06 said.
A resident of New York City, Levy and her husband came to New Haven in order to support the concert’s cause.
The concert, however, is only the first of many events planned by the Ebola Task Force. In the coming weeks, there will be a number of campus events focused on educating, spreading awareness and fundraising for Ebola, Ng said.
“I hope we can sustain this enthusiasm to tackle the tough economic, political and social issues that underlie this and other diseases born of poverty and instability,” Bradley said.
The Yale Ebola Task Force has previously hosted one panel and another talk to increase Ebola awareness on campus.