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The Daily Tar Heel

Bands Unite to Benefit Mental Illness Patients

Dubbed the Music HEELS Benefit Concert, several student musical groups, including Cornerstone and the Loreleis, will perform at Carroll Hall Auditorium tonight. Phi Mu Alpha fraternity and the UNC Department of Music are sponsoring the event.

Branson Page, a senior political science major, and Cristy Parker, a medical student and former Loreleis member, decided to resurrect the Music HEELS benefit after its demise last year. Parker said the impetus to revive the benefit came after she observed the positive effects music had on mental health patients, and realized the importance of the then-defunct benefit.

"I found that if I brought in a little Frank Sinatra, the patients could connect with me better," she said. "Music brings people together, and I think this concert gives people a great chance to support the cause and enjoy themselves."

After taking the reins of organization, Parker and Page received help from many other student organizations. Phi Mu Alpha helped the pair publicize and organize the event, and a diverse cross section of student musical groups - the Loreleis, Tar Heel Voices, Continuum Sax Quartet, Steep Canyon Rangers and Cornerstone - all volunteered to perform. Both Parker and Page said they hope the diversity of the concert's line-up will draw a diverse audience.

The proceeds from tonight's benefit go toward the Mental Health Association and Club Nova, two nonprofit organizations that provide support groups for mental health patients throughout Orange County. These organizations will also present information to the audience throughout the benefit.

Evonne Lack, executive director of the Mental Health Association, said she is thrilled with awareness and financial assistance the student-run benefit concert provides.

"It is very important to bring community awareness to mental illness and to decrease the stigmas that are associated with mental illnesses," she said. "I think it is a great example of a completely student initiated program helping the community in a huge way."

The Music HEELS benefit concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. today in Carroll Hall.

The tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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