by Staff Writer Sakshi Umrotkar
On December 21, FUSD students enjoyed an evening of melodious singing and performances to raise funds for wildfire relief at MSJ Visual Arts and Music for Society’s (VAMS) 2019 Winter Benefit Concert, “Fortes Fighting Fires.” The event took place at the Valhalla Theater at Irvington High School and was a collaborative effort between MSJ VAMS, Irvington High School’s Resonance! Club, and students from Washington and American High Schools.
Various MSJ students attended the concert, including Juniors Rishi Baskar and Soham Saha, who performed their rendition of OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars,” and Seniors Serena Wang and James Fong, who sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. MSJ Syncopasians then captivated the audience with their medley of holiday songs such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and Frank Sinatra’s classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” followed by a tango duet on the cello and piano by Freshmen Bryan Xiong and Michael Zhou. “The Syncopasians significantly improved from last year and their efforts truly made this performance a success,” Syncopasians Co-Leader Senior Anita Sun said.
The money raised from ticket sales will be donated to the California Community Foundation to provide aid to Californians affected by wildfires. Students and various performing arts teachers worked together to conduct auditions, schedule timings, and advertise the concert. The event had a fruitful turnout, with 179 students, teachers, and parents waiting in anticipation of the night’s performances. The concert raised a total of $2,000 from its two showtimes on December 21, making the fundraiser a communal achievement for FUSD students and teachers alike. “The benefit concert was such a success because not only did we raise funds, but we also brought our community together in celebration and appreciation of the students’ musical talent and collective hardwork,” MSJ VAMS Public Relations Officer Sophomore Julia Zhan said.
Photos by Staff Writer Sakshi Umrotkar