Fine arts students organize AIDS benefit

University performing arts students are coming together today to raise awareness and support for the AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County, an event official said.

Event coordinator Ashley Dobravolsky said Chi Tau Epsilon, the university’s dance honors society, will host the student-led performing arts concert at noon and at 7 p.m. today in the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium. The event is free, but there is a $5 suggested donation at the door. The money raised will help the center continue its awareness and end-of-life care programs, she said.

Dobravolsky, a senior ballet major, said the concert is a collaboration of student artists working toward a common goal.
“We’ve got dancers, comedic musicians, singers and theatre students coming together and throwing a benefit,” she said.

Andy Parkhurst, a university graduate who helped start the event in 1993, said the benefit was originally put on to help fulfill a need that was not being met.

“I knew that AIDS benefit concerts were already a common occurrence in the entertainment industry, and we thought it would be an artful way to raise awareness and educate, while giving talented students a chance to dig a little deeper and shape their act around these issues,” Parkhurst said.

This year the dance department will perform “Confessions,” a piece choreographed last semester by guest artist Jessica Lang, and two senior pieces by modern dance majors Asia Waters and Adrian Busby, Dobravolsky said. The three pieces will also be performed in April at the American College Dance Festival in Louisiana in April, she said.

This year, musicians include Josh Coad, a senior writing major who will play guitar, Drew Taylor, a sophomore psychology major on piano, and the trumpet quartet Qrumpet Toartet, which is made up of four members of the university’s jazz band. A group of theatre students will read poems by AIDS victim and award-winning poet Tory Dent, who died in 2005.

Stevie Tardiff, a sophomore theatre major who will participate in the reading, said she thinks people need to be more aware that AIDS is a problem now, not just 20 years ago.

Dobravolsky said she has big hopes for the benefit this year. Unlike in past years, the event will be in a more central location, the auditorium, and will have two performances as opposed to the one that was held last year.

“We’re really aiming for a bigger audience this year,” Dobravolsky said. “More people, more donations, more money, and then we can better benefit the AIDS Outreach Center.”
Junior ballet and modern dance major Hannah Ernest said the benefit will not only help support the AIDS Outreach Center but also show university students what the arts world looks like in the process.

“It will be amazing and knock your socks off and just show TCU a little hidden gem that not too many people know about,” Ernest said.