The Marching 97 kicks off the benefit concert on Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Lamberton Hall. The concert was held to help fundraise for New Bethany Ministries. (Zhijian Yang/B&W Staff)

Benefit concert ‘That’s MAH Jam!’ raises money for New Bethany Ministries

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Final performances from four-year friends, sets from some of Lehigh’s newest musical groups and the opportunity to raise money for the South Side all came together at “That’s MAH Jam!” benefit concert in support of New Bethany Ministries.

The concert, which was held in Lamberton Hall on Thursday, raised donations for the New Bethany Ministries food bank as this year’s philanthropy cause. New Bethany Ministries runs a food bank, shelter and community service outreach programs for South Bethlehem’s poor population.

Hosted by the Music Appreciation house, the benefit concert is an event that typically raises funds for the South Side.

At the event, attendees were asked to give food donations in the form of cans and non-perishable goods, or they could donate money to the cause. Later in the week, their monetary donations would be used to purchase goods for the food bank.

Overall, the attendance was lower at the Lamberton benefit concert than in past years. This year’s event raised $50 through Venmo.

The benefit concert has taken on different music genres than past years. Previously, the benefit concert was more of an ideology of “music as medicine,” according to Alexander Ferencin, ’17, who organized the first concert.

“We raised money for music as medicine by pairing professional and students artists with pediatric cancer patients,” Ferencin said.

Ferencin said the goal was to see the attendants’ energy levels increase with enjoyment of each song, which would then fully excite and activate the body by the end of the concert.

Ferencin, who grew up locally in the Lehigh Valley, volunteered his time in high school at the New Bethany Ministries outreach soup kitchen.

“It was a really great cause, and I wanted to support that,” Ferencin said. “So in my sophomore year at Lehigh when I was thinking, ‘What can we do?,’ I wanted to do something with them.”

Three years later, the Lamberton concert was held with a set list of four performances: the Marching 97, Subtle Omen, Fractal Drift and the Rhythm Method.

Matthew Cossel, ’17, is the guitarist for Subtle Omen, one of the bands that played at the event.

“The concert went well,” Cossel said. “We were fighting for people to come because of Lehigh’s Summer Festival event, but more and more people showed up throughout the night.”

For Cossel and drummer, Noah Reifsnyder, ’17, the Lamberton concert marked their last performance together at Lehigh.

From freshman year roommates and best friends, the two had started their band spring break of sophomore year in one of their parent’s basements and performed at other events, including Battle of the Bands and opening for Steel City Sunrise last spring at SteelStacks. The group has even released one record last November called “Heartless.” For the two friends, the concert was a great way to end their Lehigh music careers together.

A relatively new brass band, The Rhythm Method, performed covers of a New York brass band called Lucky Chops.

“Since we lived in the Music Appreciation house, we knew about the event and we’re all seasoned performers, so our nerves tend to not get the best of us,” baritone sax player Eddie Gardiner, ’19, said.

The brass band is relatively new, with their only previous show being Acoustics, held on the UC Front Lawn in April. Gardiner hopes there will be many more performances in the future.

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