Lehigh’s Got Talent to host charity show


In this Oct. 26, 2016, file photo, comedian Shazeb Fahim, ’20, pretends to write jokes in Lamberton Hall, where he won Lehigh’s Got Talent that year. This year, Lehigh’s Got Talent will donate its proceeds to Pratham USA, an organization that promotes education in India. (Samuel Henry/B&W Staff)

Lehigh’s Got Talent Season 1 winner and comedian Shazeb Fahim, ’20, chose to support Pratham USA through the upcoming charity show to raise awareness and funds for education in India.

Fahim will be the featured performance for Lehigh’s Got Talent’s charity event to be held April 29 from 7-9:30 p.m. in the University Center Room 303.

Fahim worked with a chapter of Pratham USA throughout high school in his home city of Boston and was given the opportunity to promote the charity through Lehigh’s Got Talent. The new club decided to start hosting charity events to give the talent show a purpose.

“This charity just has a lot of history — doing good work in India, promoting girls’ education and education for everyone and other developmental programs,” he said.

The organization has improved education for millions of Indian students and has advocated for increased learning for the underprivileged since 1994.

Fahim is passionate about the message Pratham USA promotes and has a personal connection with the volunteer-based programs. He said his female cousins from Pakistan were pursuing degrees.

The charity show will be held in lieu of a spring semester competition season because Lehigh’s Got Talent wanted to gift the winner with a more meaningful reward. Connor Cragon, ’19, the president and organizer of Lehigh’s Got Talent, said participants in subsequent years will continue to compete for charities and host charity shows.

Cragon contacted competitors from Season 1, as well as clubs and ensembles at Lehigh, to be a part of the show. He informed them of the purpose of the event and the plan to raise money for Pratham USA.

“We have a lot of people that we know in Music Box, so they were able to give us a lot of names of groups who normally are at the open mics and things like that,” Cragon said. “We’ve got four dance groups, a couple solos and some duets.”

The main competition consisted mostly of musical acts, lacking dance groups.

Cragon was excited to have Bhangra, Dancin’, LU’s Finest Step Team and belly dancer Natalie Seifert, ’18, volunteer to perform at the charity event. The other acts consist of solos by Cole Magura, ’19, and Ryan Loftus, ’18. Group ensembles include the trio of Jamir Connelly, ’19, Jamal Connelly, ’19, and Reggie Lahens, ’20, and the duo of Derek Knott, ’16, and Pierce Ripanti, ’17.

“I love singing, so I take any opportunity I can get, and I was asked to perform in this charity event, which is so important for education,” said Magura, one of the four finalists on Lehigh’s Got Talent.

Cragon hopes for support and involvement from the Lehigh community as well. He said a high attendance and positive feedback would help publicize the event and allow Lehigh’s Got Talent to keep hosting charity shows in the future.

“Hopefully,” Cragon said, “if not this year, next year we can get even more of those other clubs who are obviously very talented to come out and help whichever charity we’re fundraising for.”

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