March 23, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 51°F


A cappella groups come together for benefit concert

In hopes of raising money for Tay-bandz, an organization that helps fund pediatric cancer research, all three of Ithaca College’s a cappella groups performed in a combined Block III Concert. The groups were able to raise more than $1,200 in donations from ticket sales and raffle-ticket purchases.

The concert, titled “Tunes 4 Tay,” featured Ithacappella, Premium Blend and IC Voicestream and was held at 6 p.m. March 2 in Emerson Suites.

About 500 people attended the event. Each of the three groups were allotted about 35 minutes of performance time and, for the last song, all of the groups came together to sing “If You’re Out There,” originally performed by John Legend.

Senior Drew Kellogg, president of IC Voicestream, said this is the first time all three groups have ever performed on stage together.

“We have performed at each other’s concert before or done one or two combined songs, but this is the first time Ithacappella, Premium Blend and Voicestream have all done a concert together,” Kellogg said. “And this is the first time Voicestream has ever done a charity concert.”

Freshman Jordan Shoemaker, member of IC Voicestream, said it was nice to perform with the other two groups for a change, despite any type of competition that may have lingered among the groups.

“It’s really great to get drama out of the way and realize that we share a common love, which is music and a capella,” Shoemaker said. “And we all sound phenomenal, especially together. So it was really a great opportunity.”

Senior Hannah Sands, president of Premium Blend, said along with two silent auctions, the raffles included gift cards from local businesses in Ithaca, including Bandwagon Brewpub and Domino’s Pizza.

Freshman Sarah Loeffler, a member of Premium Blend, said it was nice to see so much contribution from the Ithaca community and its local businesses as well.

“We have so many donations from just ticket sales and everything,” Loeffler said. “I mean, you could have gotten the tickets for free, but it was all donation-based, and so people wanted to contribute, and that’s something really special.”

Corey Matthews, sister of the founder of Tay-bandz, came to campus to give a brief speech during the event about the organization and her sister, Taylor Matthews. She said Taylor, who was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 11 and died at age 16, founded the organization. Matthews also said one motivation for this organization was to address the underfunding of childhood cancer research.

“Tay-bandz now has a national presence,” Matthews said. “Taylor always said, ‘If I could save one life, it would all be worth it.’ We have fulfilled Taylor’s dream, but we still have a long way to go.”

Junior Christopher Frost, president of Ithacappella, said the group had received an email from Tay-bandz suggesting the idea of the fundraising platform “Tunes 4 Tay” for a cappella groups.

“[The email] said something along the lines of, ‘This is a night of no competition, where groups can get together to raise money in awareness for pediatric cancer research,’” Frost said. “I saw that and thought, ‘What better to do that than have a combined Block III, where we all do this and have this ‘Tunes 4 Tay’ fundraiser?’”

Senior Ben Van De Water, member of Ithacappella, said despite small inconveniences, like running out of microphones for everyone on stage, the groups have the potential to raise even more money if they continue these group performances.

“It’s been a lot of fun singing with [the other groups] and getting a chance to perform together,” Van De Water said. “Even though I won’t be around for it, I really hope that the groups will get together again for another combined concert.”

Taylor Zambrano can be reached at or via Twitter: @tzambra1