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BU students to hold virtual charity concert with local musicians

dynopalooza promotional graphic
“Dynopalooza,” a virtual concert scheduled for May 8. A group of Boston University students planned the event to raise money for charity. COURTESY OF MIKEY ROCHA

A group of Boston University students are putting together Dynopalooza — a virtual charity concert featuring BU musicians and other local artists that will be streamed on Twitch May 8.

“It’s going to be a great time, it’s going to be for a great cause and it’ll be just like watching a concert in real life,” said Mikey Rocha, a senior in the College of Communication and the director of Dynomike Prods, the production company behind Dynopalooza.

All proceeds from the musical event will be donated to Hyde Square Task Force, a community-based organization in Boston’s Latin Quarter that provides educational and mentoring resources to local youth.

“I wanted the charity to do something involving young adults, especially because that’s who’s performing,” Rocha said. “I think the young people deserve the best.”

As of Tuesday, the concert is set to feature five musical acts, Rocha said, many of whom are BU students like him.

“We really want to showcase what the young Boston and Northeast community has to offer in terms of music,” he said.

Rocha said the musicians will play their sets in his friend’s backyard in Rhode Island while the show is streamed live free of charge. Dynopalooza has a donation goal of $5,000, around $120 of which has already been met, Rocha added.

HSTF Development and Communications Director Barbara Civill Montoya said the money would likely go to purchasing new equipment and tents for sun protection as the organization moves toward more in-person services.

“We want to do it carefully and thoughtfully,” Montoya said. “The more we get into the planning of that, we realize ‘Oh yeah, we need some new stuff that we wouldn’t normally need.’”

Montoya said a charity concert Wellesley College held two years ago was the last time the HSTF partnered with a college student show.

Dynopalooza — a name inspired by his love of dinosaurs — will be Rocha’s first time putting together a concert, he said.

“Initially, it was kind of difficult because I admittedly didn’t really know too much about concert planning,” he said, “but I have a great team that’s been able to help me, too. We’ve all been working really hard and we’ve been able to make it work.”

Rocha’s roommate Amal Ivaturi, a senior in the Questrom School of Business, is a member of the team. Ivaturi said he has experience organizing shows and livestreams, and he was present when the idea for Dynopalooza came about a few months ago.

“Especially over COVID, we were like, ‘It’s been a year and a half, everyone is clearly getting better at their art, they just have nowhere to really show this off,’” he said.

Ivaturi said he works on different parts of Dynopalooza: organizing performers, marketing the concert and outreach planning.

“Sadly, the pledging is the more difficult part,” he said. “We are definitely refining our strategy to figure out which businesses … are more receptive to this kind of thing.”

Despite this challenge, Ivaturi said multiple businesses and corporate groups have already pledged to donate.

Much of the money is going to raffle items that Ivaturi said he hopes will encourage more donations. He added the audio and visual equipment came “pretty much for free” from artists and professors who were willing to loan out to the concert.

Abhinav Penumudi, a senior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, is an R&B and hip-hop artist who is performing at Dynopalooza and helping set up some of the concert’s audio equipment.

This will be an especially notable experience for Penumudi, a friend of both Rocha and Ivaturi, because it is his first public musical performance.

“This is actually really exciting for me,” he said, “because it’s going to be the first time that I’m performing live for people that aren’t my friends.”

For Alicia Donlon, a freshman French horn performance major in the College of Fine Arts, Dynopalooza is her first performance outside of school.

“I’m just excited to play for people,” she said. “I’m just excited to get to perform.”

Donlon added she didn’t mind the virtual format because it was the only option and not that different from performing in person.

“It’s kind of the same thing,” Donlon said. “You got to do what you got to do. People need music so if this is the closest thing we can get to, other than live performance, then hell yeah, let’s do it.”

Donlon said she’s performing with her friend Sebastian Ortiz, a Questrom senior, using a song the two wrote together.

Ortiz echoed Donlon’s words in support of the virtual format.

“You look straight at the camera,” Ortiz said, “and you know you’re making eye contact with [the audience].”

Sam Drysdale, secretary and legal chair of the Board of Directors at The Daily Free Press, is an organizer for Dynopalooza. She was not involved with the editing of this article.

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