By Samantha Wilson
City on a Hill Press Reporter

This year, a cappella club Acquire will host its first benefit concert, “Pump it Up!”

The concert supports Playpumps International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to providing water pumps to villages, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, that do not have access to a clean water supply.

“I suggested donating to Playpumps because it’s a cause very dear to my heart, and we all agreed to support their organization,” said fourth-year Robby Sumner, Acquire’s business director. “It’s a great way to support a humanitarian cause as well as see a great show.”

Unlike the average water pump, a Playpump is fueled by a playground carousel. Children spin and play on the merry-go-round to produce fresh water. The process provides the area with clean, safe water, and an entertainment source for children. As the pumps are expensive, the group is accepting any form of donation in order to obtain the funding it needs.

“Our goal is to donate 4,000 pumps to 10 countries in the Sub-Saharan region,” Playpumps representative Marissa Valdez said. “We’re trying to reach our goal by 2010, hopefully helping about 10 million people in need.”

The Acquire benefit show will showcase all three of UCSC’s a cappella groups: Acquire, Cloud 9 and Isang Himig. The three groups are united in support of the cause.

“It’s really unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” Acquire musical director Chris Crawford said. “We have a special song that brings together all three groups at once. Picture about 100 singers on stage together — it’s going to be amazing to witness.”

According to both Crawford and Sumner, Acquire has always wanted to take on a project like Pump it Up!, which has been in the making for about one year. Acquire is dedicating 50 percent of the March 12 show’s proceeds to Playpumps International in an effort to get the organization that much closer to its goal.

“We’re very fortunate to have sponsorship from Cowell College, as well as support from Stevenson College,” Sumner said. “Their help allowed us to focus more on placing funding towards Playpumps, instead of worrying as much about the logistics of our show.”

The remaining half of the benefit show’s proceeds will go toward the production of Acquire’s debut CD. The CD, a compilation of some of the group’s best works, will serve as another way to help Playpumps.

A portion of the album’s profits will go toward Playpumps International, in addition to the money raised at the benefit show.

Valdez encouraged students to spread the word about the plight of communities without clean water.

“Students need to understand the impact of the water crisis, not just in Africa, but across the world as well. So much more awareness needs to be drawn to this issue,” Valdez said. “Basically, students just need to spread the word! That’s why [Acquire’s] benefit concert is so great; it’s bringing in funding and bringing awareness at the same time.”

Tickets for the concert are $3 for Cowell and Stevenson students, $5 for all other UC Santa Cruz students, and $10 for community members.

“This is a rare chance to see all three a cappella groups perform together,” Crawford said. “It’s a good excuse to help out a great cause.”


<i>Acquire’s benefit concert “Pump it Up!” will be held Thursday, March 12, at 8 p.m. in the Stevenson Event Center.</i>

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