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Benefit concert for Japan relief to be held downtown

April 21, 2011

A benefit concert for disaster relief in Japan will be held on April 28 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Junior’s Bar and Grill located in the Riverview Hotel and Suites on Main Street.

The benefit concert has been planned entirely by the UWRF nonprofit marketing communications course, said marketing communications lecturer David Bonko.

“The crisis in Japan provided the class with the opportunity to actually do something to benefit a real world cause,” Bonko said. “I tossed out the idea at the beginning of class a few weeks ago and the students have taken it from there.”

This event gives students and community members the opportunity to lend a helping hand to a hurting Japan, said nonprofit student Brandon Meyer.

“A lot of people in this part of the world feel disconnected when events happen that are opposite to them geographically,” Meyer said. “It’s really cool that we as a class are putting on this event for Japan because not only does it raise awareness of the tragedies of the event, but also gives students and community members the chance to help out.”

The cover charge of the event is either a pair of clean, new socks or $3. 

“There is water everywhere and everything is soaking wet.  No electricity means no power to use dryers, which means no dry socks,” Meyer said. “Socks set us apart and also when you donate something you get more out of it than cash. You know this item you purchased is going to somebody that is going to wear it and appreciate it.”

Junior’s Bar & Grill has been more than cooperative and supportive as the concert venue, said Bonko.

“Junior’s donated the stage set-up, room rental and any tables and chairs needed. I’ve also heard a percentage of the profit that night will be donated,” Meyer said.

The event is for those 18 years and older until 10 p.m. and then becomes a 21 years and older event after 10 p.m. The concert will feature six local bands including, Lotus Goodnight, First Amendment, Windowvine, An Honest Life, Dirty Blonde and Sepia Tone, according to the event press release.

“How to get six bands to play for free and a business to partner for an event is a testament to the student’s hard work,” Bonko said.

This event gives students the opportunity to test what is learned in the nonprofit marketing communications course.

“Students have the chance to analyze what worked and what didn’t. They can say we talked about this in class, but this is what I did,” he said.

Traditionally, students in the nonprofit marketing communications course have partnered with a nonprofit group, something they continued this semester. This year, they added the opportunity to plan an event, something that hasn’t been done before, said Bonko.

“Being involved with the planning of this event has provided students with the opportunity to take a step out of their comfort level,” said Bonko. They’ve learned how to balance the strategic goal of the project, while making quick and relevant decisions without being 100 percent sure of the
outcome.”

The class has all had the opportunity to use their strengths and campus connections to their fullest potential. Those with a strong musical background work with the bands, others work with the venue, and others work with the campus community to create awareness, said Meyer.

“We will have to see how it goes, but at this point, I’m very proud of the work of these students,” Bonko said.