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Relay For Life kicks off year of cancer fundraising Friday

Courtesy of Alexa Colasurdo

Courtesy of Alexa Colasurdo

Rather, it will be performers for the UNC Relay For Life Kickoff Concert who entertain the Forest Theater audience.

The evening will begin with a performance by the UNC Clef Hangers followed by a speech from UNC junior Matthew Fenner and finally a performance from Clockwork Kids.

A yearlong project, Relay For Life benefits the American Cancer Society by fundraising throughout the year and culminates in a 20-hour walking relay in the spring. The goal of tonight’s first-ever kickoff concert is to increase exposure and raise awareness about the organization and to begin fundraising.

“There’s no catch or anything,” said senior Alexa Colasurdo, co-director of UNC Relay For Life. “They can just come have free food and a fun time with Clockwork Kids and the Clef Hangers.”

Formed in February 2012 and composed of solely UNC students and graduates, Clockwork Kids is a rock band that recently toured the East Coast and is present on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud.

“We’ve been called a neo-psychedelic rock band — a ’90s revivalist rock band,” said Justin Ellis, bass player and lead singer for the band.

One of Clockwork Kids’ first shows in 2012 was performed at a Relay For Life event, and Ellis said the band is stoked to return. Ellis said audience members should expect an exciting performance from the band.

“Shredding,” he said. “Shredding and a good time.”

The Clef Hangers, UNC’s oldest a cappella group, will open the show with a handful of song selections, including UNC’s unofficial anthem, James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind.”

“Friday should be great,” said senior Jeffrey Popkin, music director and baritone singer for the Clef Hangers. “It’s a huge honor to get asked to perform a kickoff concert. Performing at charity events is a lot of fun — it’s really rewarding.”

Fenner, a junior anthropology major and sub-chair of Relay For Life’s Survivorship Committee, will speak at the kickoff about his experiences as a skin cancer survivor as well as on the importance of becoming involved in organizations like Relay For Life.

“A lot of these groups help fund the people that are actually fighting this disease,” he said.

Relay For Life will host multiple events throughout the year, including a casino night-themed gala, a 5K race and various local bar nights, including an after-party at He’s Not Here tonight following the kickoff.

Fenner said Relay For Life and similar organizations are vital for raising awareness and money for cancer.

“If it hadn’t been for individuals and different groups and different companies, there’s a potential that I would not have been able to afford treatment,” he said.

“That’s something that people don’t always necessarily think about.”

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