Fifty students gathered in the Blind Duck on Friday night to support UTM’s United Way Campaign at the fifth annual MOSAIC charity dinner hosted by the UTM Music Club. For the first time this year, CFRE Radio collaborated to sponsor and help host the event.
This year’s theme was “Songs of Ice and Fire”, inspired by the Game of Thrones TV series. The red and black colours of House Targaryen transformed the pub for a fashionable venue. A moment of silence for victims of Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding began the evening, followed by a performance of the theme “The Rains of Castemere” from the show by Yalla Yalla. After this decorative opening, the night moved on to entertainment not related to the series.
Representatives from United Way kicked off the rest of the event by explaining the campaign, in which healthier communities and reduced poverty are promoted through collaboration with educational institutions and organizations. UTM’s previous collaborations with the United Way include the CN Tower Climb and a tree-planting event.
Events like this are opportunities to share “songs for the soul”, said UMC co-president Rahul Varghese, and work to “make people feel good”.
Guests were encouraged to purchase additional raffle tickets for $5. Along with the $25 admission ($20 for early birds), all proceeds from the event went to the United Way of Peel Region.
Music blasting from an event next door in the presentation room drowned out a few of the softer performances, but musicians powered through with strong vocals and catchy tunes. The UTM Choir had one of the strongest performances of the night. Selecting two pieces they felt embodied the themes of fire and ice, the group sang “Lullaby” by Josh Groban and “Royals” by Lorde. Though they were moved to a later performance slot due to members arriving late, they were definitely worth the wait—especially for the three-person tenor and bass section that shone through with vibrant harmonies. Their first performance took place at the second annual MOSAIC.
Prof. Dax Urbszat performed a tune he recorded for the UMC Original Chords CD project last year, “The Song that Will Change the World”. It was fascinating to see the professor, a regular performer at campus music events, move from the blackboard into the spotlight. His enthusiastic rendition of U2’s “One” was one of the highlights of the night.
The event was advertised as running from 6 to 9 p.m., with the concert starting at 6:30. Unfortunately, technical difficulties delayed the first performance until 7:15, which pushed back the evening significantly. Free drink tickets were announced at 6:30, though, with one for each person of drinking age. I’d already purchased a drink, but I appreciated the gesture. Soundchecks were still happening when guests arrived, so we were privy to the preview of the entertainment, which looked promising. Several periods of setting up between acts meant dinner was served around 8:20 and a starving audience scrambled to eat up the white bread rolls, garden salads, spinach and cheese lasagne, and homemade cupcakes.
An untitled band featuring five male UMC execs in matching black suits and red ties performed “Shot at the Night” by the Killers before inviting the entire council onstage to finish the evening. Most of the audience left after dinner, with a handful of students staying to watch the final performances. An incentive to stay was a Game of Thrones raffle prize pack to be won at the end of the night by one of the remaining guests. The prize pack featured the five-book box set, DVDs of the first two seasons, a T-shirt, and a bobblehead. The winner of the prize was K.C. Chavez.
While the attendance was about average for a UMC night, this year tied with 2012 as the most successful MOSAIC yet. “It’s growing every year,” says Varghese, which gives the clubs hope for more donations and a better turnout next year. The theme aimed to attract a greater and more diverse section of the school population, but my companion recognized many faces in the audience as UMC members or CFRE associates. The lack of attendees not affiliated with clubs may be part of a larger issue of poorly attended campus events, but those who came out enjoyed supporting student talent and local charity.