Rider University Students ‘Stand Up’ to Celebrate Black Musical Theatre

Rider University Students ‘Stand Up’ to Celebrate Black Musical Theatre
By Victoria Corinne

Black History Month is a time to recognize and admire the achievements of the African American community, and students in the Fine and Performing Arts department at Rider University are doing just that. “Upon the Shoulders We Stand: A Celebration of Black Music Theatre,” is a cabaret being held at the university, which will honor and highlight black excellence within musical theatre. The performance will explore the many various styles of musical genres including Jazz, Classical and Gospel. It will also focus on how important black voices, struggles and triumphs are relevant today, and for the future of the musical theatre community.

When asked what the cabaret meant to him, Nigel Finley, one of the shows performers had a perfect answer. “It’s heartwarming to see people celebrate their culture, whether black, white, Puerto Rican, Haitian and so on. I’m happy that Rider’s musical theatre program is expanding their repertoire of cultural performances and allowing students to showcase their stories.”

Instead of charging admission for the show, student director Brandon Fuller had a better idea. The show will be in sponsorship of the Be The Match foundation, which is the national bone marrow registry. Be The Match only covers about 3% of diverse bone marrow donors. So in honor of Black History Month, the students are hosting this cabaret to bring awareness to this cause.

Patients depend on Be The Match and its supporters to find a match to save their lives. The goal is to provide one-on-one support to patients and their families every step of the way along the transplant journey. The never-ending passion and dedication to save lives through transplant is what drives advocates to help more patients survive. A patient’s likelihood of finding a matching bone marrow donor or cord blood unit on Be The Match Registry® ranges from 66% to 97% depending on race and ethnicity. Because the marks used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own ancestry.

With the help of the passionate creative team and supportive faculty advisors, the creators of this event have made the show more than just a cabaret. It is a history lesson, it is a chance to experience different music, and it is the story behind some of the most influential performers to ever live.

The cabaret will be held on February 15, 2016 at 7:30PM in the Gill Chapel on Rider University’s Lawrenceville campus. There will be a donation box for the Be The Match foundation at the door.

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