Bands battle to benefit charity


Editors note: This article has been changed to accurately reflect the name of the service fraternity.

When lead singer and guitarist Michael Motherwell took the stage Sunday afternoon to perform with his band, Something Utopic, he was playing with more of a sense of purpose than usual.

The Oakland University junior was performing with the hopes that he could help raise money for the Believe in Miracles Foundation, an organization created after the death of a young girl from his hometown who had an ependymoma brain tumor.

“(The foundation is) pretty close to home,” the Troy, Mich., native said. “It really speaks to us because it was born in Troy. It’s a great charity and a great foundation.”

Something Utopic was one of four bands that fought for their respective organization at Battlepalooza, a charity event hosted by members of service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, which took place from 4-6 p.m. Sunday in the Erickson Hall Kiva.

All the proceeds — tickets were $3 for one person or $5 for two people to attend — will be donated to the group represented by the winning band, which was selected by a round of applause from the audience.

This year, Motherwell’s four-piece alternative rock group beat the rest of its competitors — Animeaux, Nathan Allan and Tipsy Gypsy.

“We feel awesome and energetic,” Motherwell said. “It fueled us up more than a regular show. You’re playing for someone other than yourself.”

Nutritional sciences junior Jaclyn Royer, who was one of the event’s organizers, said she hoped the event could showcase local artists while also benefitting deserving organizations.

“I think it’s great to first of all see that there are so many talented musicians on campus or locally and to be able to promote that … but also in a way that allows them to give back to the community and charities at large,” she said. “It’s basically a win-win when you’re able to donate to a cause and enjoy being with friends or the concert itself.”

The four organizations represented at the event included Autism Speaks, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Believe in Miracles Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. Royer said she was pleased with the bands’ selection of charities because some of them are not very well-known and are deserving of attention.

“We have a wide variety (of bands) helping many groups of people,” she said. “It really gives listeners an opportunity to donate to different charities that might not have as much publicity as the American Cancer Society.”

Unlike in past years when only a cappella acts performed at the event, the groups chosen for Sunday’s show represent various genres of music, including alternative rock and folk.

“We wanted to make the concert available to a wide variety of listeners,” Royer said. “It gives different people different things. We weren’t necessarily going for one specific (type of music).”

Psychology senior Audrey Blaylock, who was one of about 30 attendees, said she enjoyed being able to come together for an afternoon with other music lovers who also were interested in being charitable.

“(The event was) a good way for local bands to get their name out there,” she said. “It’s nice to all come together to listen to music and raise money at the same time.”

Motherwell said he was excited not only to be able to perform on MSU’s campus but also to do so for a good cause.

“The charity we’re playing for isn’t as well known, so we want to raise awareness for it,” he said. “It’s that much better for us to play a show and also to give exposure to this charity.”

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