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Local concert benefits Oct. 30 flood victims

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 Photo by:  Lesly de Leon | Staff PhotographerThe crowd dances at a flood benefit concert Sunday, Dec. 6.
Photo by: Lesly de Leon | Staff Photographer
The crowd dances at a flood benefit concert Sunday, Dec. 6.

Through My Identity: The Concert on Dec. 6, Texas State students and San Marcos residents came together to raise money for local flood victims.

The event, which was hosted by Shawn “Big Neechi” Oneychi, took place at The Marc and featured local artist Jaylon Ashaun.

Ashaun said he collaborated with P4CM poet Ezekiel and DJ Fat to put on a memorable concert.

The event also partnered with Texas State’s American Marketing Association and Serve San Marcos, which helped event organizers coordinate fundraising efforts.

Oneychi opened the show by telling the crowd how important it is to support fellow San Martians in their time of need.

“We’ve got to support our community,” Oneychi said. “That’s what it’s all about. “Everybody being out here in support of this event is great for San Marcos and the whole community, and we greatly appreciate it.”

Then, Oneychi welcomed DJ Fat to the stage. The performance featured modern mixes of classic hip-hop hits “This is How We Do It” and “No Scrubs,” along with popular dance songs “Cupid Shuffle” and “Wobble.”

 Photo by: Lesly de Leon | Staff PhotographerEzekiel performs spoken word at the benefit concert.
Photo by: Lesly de Leon | Staff Photographer
Ezekiel performs spoken word at the benefit concert.

Ezekiel, PC4M spoken word poet and hip-hop artist, opened his set with an original piece relating to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The second spoken word performance included his personal testimony, which had the crowd snapping along.

“I really felt like I was being taught more,” Justin Johnson, Austin Community College junior said. “It was encouraging. It was very unique.”

During a brief intermission, Reverend Todd Salmi of Serve San Marcos talked with the crowd about what the organization does for the community, and encouraged guests to give back.

Salmi described the impact recent floods had on San Marcos families and the importance of volunteering during these times.

“When you volunteer with flood recovery, we help you track your hours,” Salmi said. “Every hour you donate is worth 20 dollars in flood recovery money that comes from the federal government.”

Salmi said being able to combine a good time with a good cause was the most important aspect of putting on the concert.

Later in the evening, Ashaun and his band opened up with “Searching,” a song from his new album My Identity.

He also welcomed Alana Lanette to the stage during “Caught Up,” another single from his new album.

In addition, Ashaun performed his own versions of Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” and Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” which had the crowd singing along to every lyric.

Ashaun played “Me” towards the end of the show, which seemed to be a crowd favorite. The local artist shared his personal testimony, which led to a never-before-heard worship song “Glory.” He shared a free link to the brand new song, set to be released Dec. 11, featuring Zack Wiggs.

Bayley Turner, industrial engineering freshman, said she was impressed by the performance. She said seeing him express his faith in “Glory” was one of her favorite parts of the night.

“I thought the show was great,” Turner said. “It was really good how he interpreted his faith into the songs.”

Ashaun and his band ended the night with “Lead the Crowd,” which was well known among guests.

Zack Fowler, mass communication junior, said it was exciting to see all of Ashaun’s hard work pay off on stage with a diverse set.

“It’s awesome to see it all come together,” Fowler said. “The whole crowd was so excited the whole time. It didn’t even feel like that long and I’m still hungry for more.”

 Photo by: Lesly de Leon | Staff PhotographerAshaun performs his songs.
Photo by: Lesly de Leon | Staff Photographer
Ashaun performs his songs.

Ashaun said this was his first time performing many of his songs live, and the way the audience responded was thrilling.

“The energy on both ends was really good,” Ashaun said. “It was really cool.”

Throughout the concert, guests were able to visit the merchandise table or make donations at the American Marketing Association booth. Ashaun said a portion of ticket proceeds also went towards the Serve San Marcos fundraiser.

“There were so many friends and family that were affected by the flood,” Fowler said. “I think to have such a huge event is awesome because it brings up more awareness to be able to help out and be able to serve.”

Sydney Arguijo, marketing senior and AMA representative, said the concert raised a little over $200 for flood victims.

“It was rewarding just seeing that the efforts didn’t just go to us,” Ezekiel said. “Any way we can help by sharing our art is just a blessing all the way around.”