By Paula Ann Solis
The musical entertainment portion of Diadeloso had a different purpose this year. Rather than just celebrating the end of the semester, the Diadeloso final concert became another way for the Waco community to remember and raise money for those affected by the explosion in West.
President Ken Starr offered opening remarks before the Diadeloso headliner Five for Fighting took the stage.
“This is our Dia for West,” Starr said. He commended the Baylor community for the quick and united response to the devastation 17 miles north of Baylor campus.
“You responded in such an overwhelming way,” Starr said. “Maybe you and I weren’t called to be first responders but we were called to respond and I’m so proud.” At the time of publication, $15,000 has been raised.
Thursday’s concert, which was free to the public, was originally set to take place on Fountain Mall but in order to accommodate a larger crowd and to accept donations, the event was moved to the Ferrell Center said Chester, N.J. senior Pauline Minnaar, the chairman for Diadeloso.
“We sat down with Baylor officials this morning and decided that a benefit concert would be a great way to honor those affected in West,” Minnaar said.
Minnaar said the two bands that were scheduled to close out the day—Green River Ordinance and Five for Fighting—were contacted about the changes and, according to Minnaar, both bands were happy to help raise money for the cause.
“That just speaks volumes of their character and shows that we chose the right performers for Dia,” said Dallas sophomore Dominic Edwards.
Edwards, who was also named the new internal vice president for student government Thursday, said this year’s Diadeloso had a different tone than Diadeloso of the past. “But it’s a good different because this year it’s about showing the spirit of Christ,” he said.
Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, offered opening remarks before the first band Green River Ordinance took the stage.
“I have never been more proud of Baylor than I am tonight,” Jackson said. Jackson commended the Diadeloso event staff for being able to put a benefit concert together in less than 24 hours following the event in West. “That is what Baylor University is about,” he said.
Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting sat at the piano before his performance, spoke to the audience and reflected on the recent events around the country.
“We’ve probably had the worst week in America since 9/11,” Ondrasik said to the Baylor and Waco community in attendance. Ondrasik also said he has been amazed by the display of Americans to help one another in their times of need and was happy to help Baylor raise money for West.
“I’d like to start with this little song here thinking about the victims but also thinking about those emergency workers,” Ondrasik said. “Those first responders some of them, just 24 hours ago, who gave their lives for people they never met.”
Ondrasik then opened his performance with his 2001 hit “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” which he also performed at a benefit following the terrorist attacks in September 2001 at The Concert for New York City.
Baylor students and the Waco community stood as the first song was played. Many in the audience were also wearing the black and red ribbons that were handed out at the doors. Other people wore shirts that read “God Bless West.” The black and red colors are the school colors of West High School.
The Baylor community offered relief Thursday night though many other ways, such as donating food, clothing, toys and household goods to Caritas of Waco, a non-profit that accepts goods for those in need. According to Noel Jones, a driver for Caritas, an entire 26-foot-long truck was filled with goods donated by the community.
Purchases at concession stands at the Ferrell Center Thursday evening also benefited West. For every purchase, $1 will be donated to the West relief effort.
An official attendance was not available at the time of publication, but one member of the Ferrell Center staff said that based on seats occupied, close to 2,000 people attended the relief concert.
For those who would like to contribute to the monetary relief effort being conducted by Baylor University, visit www.baylor.edu/relief/give.