Dillard benefit concert, auction raise $2,500 for Haiti

Some $2,500 was raised for the people of Haiti in a benefit concert and silent art auction at Dillard on Feb. 23, according to Dr. Danille Taylor, dean of Humanities.


About 300 people attended the “To Haiti with Love” event in Lawless Memorial Chapter featuring jazz musician Ellis Marsalis along with student and faculty performances. The event was free, but donations were accepted, along with the art auction of 23 pieces, at least 14 of which were purchased.


The money is being sent to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, where 100 percent of donations are used for Haitian earthquake relief efforts.


Taylor, who said she and members of the Humanities faculty spent a month coordinating the event, said she had a flashback to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when she learned of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12.


“I gathered the faculty, and we decided that we had to move on and do what we had to do for Haiti,” said the dean.


Taylor called the art donations the key factor in raising the funds. The value of each art piece ranged from $50 to $1,200, she said; the highest bid was $300 and the lowest $50.


Art donors included Taylor; Dr. Freddye Hill, History; John Barnes, Art; Amy Bryant, DU gallery director, along with artists and DU supporters Ulrick Jean-Pierre, Victoria Ryan, Willie Birch, Ron Bechet, Rachel Jones and Patricia Bernstein.


In addition to Marsalis, who received an honorary doctorate from Dillard in 1989 and is the father of jazz musicians Branford and Wynton Marsalis, other performers included DU Vision Quest; a Dillard female octet and male octet with Dr. Lucian Zidaru on piano; Theatre Chair Sherri Marina with senior theatre major Canae White; and sophomore Chrishira Perrier and freshman Kayla Blaine, also theatre majors.


According to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Web site (clintonbushhaitifund.org), more than $31 million has been donated to the fund to date by more than 200,000 people, and it allocated $4 million in the first month to relief and recovery efforts.


(Angelica Boyd and Traci Ray contributed to this report.)