The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday December 5th

A capella concert to raise awareness for autism issues

Sometimes autism speaks — other times it gets its voice through song.

The “Voices for Autism” concert will use a cappella to bring attention to the issues surrounding autism this Sunday.

See the show

Time: Sunday, 4 p.m.
Location: Great Hall

UNC’s Health Occupations Students of America is hosting a charity a cappella concert, with proceeds going to Autism Speaks — an organization that helps autistic patients and their families through research and raising awareness of the disorder.

Popular on-campus a cappella groups, such as the Loreleis, the Achordants, the Tarpeggios and Samaa, will be performing to raise awareness for autism at the event.

Sara Larcher, a junior and the business manager for the Loreleis, said members feel it’s important to give back to the community and that participating in this concert is a great way to do so.

“Singing is something that we all love to do, and if we can sing and give back to the community in the same way, then that’s great,” she said.

The all-female a cappella group sings a variety of styles, including contemporary pop, R&B, country and alternative as well as older tunes. Larcher said concerts of all styles are great way for members in the group to bond.

“Music brought us together and that’s something that we have in common, but I consider everyone in the group to be a best friend,” Larcher said. “We hang out outside of a cappella, and we’re all passionate about different things. We’re just a very close-knit group.”

Younger groups like the Tarpeggios and Samaa have found fellow UNC a cappella groups to be very supportive and helpful in growing and finding their way.

“Our first performance was at an Achordants concert, actually,” said Katie Morris, a founding member and president of the Tarpeggios.

The co-ed group sings a wide range of songs as well, ranging from oldies to country to rap, and members focus on having fun — both among themselves and with the audience.

The senior psychology major also said it’s important to raise awareness about the fact that everyone interacts in different ways, especially people with autism.

“Sometimes, a lot of the arts and singing are ways for people to communicate if they don’t enjoy speaking all the time,” Morris said, commenting that she isn’t talkative herself. “I think for people with autism, sometimes they struggle to communicate with others in a way that most people do, so it’s kind of a nice combination of finding different ways to communicate.”

A cappella fusion group Samaa demonstrates how music can bring two cultures together. The group performs mash-ups of a variety of western music genres with Bollywood music.

Executive director and junior Savita Sivakumar said Samaa will be mashing up songs from Indian movies “Murder 2” and “Wake Up Sid!” as well works by The Eagles and John Mayer.

“‘Voices for Autism’ seems like a really valuable event to have on campus,” Sivakumar said. “Autism is a really misunderstood mental disorder, so I think it’s important to raise awareness about it, especially in such an open community.”

Larcher said “Voices for Autism” is going to be a great night of music, along with a powerful message.

“Not only are you getting to come out and listen to some wonderful groups perform, but you’re also supporting a wonderful cause,” she said. “So you can feel good while having fun.”

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