Final push for MSA concert

MSA hurries to finish this year’s Lend a Hand, Hear the Band.

As final negotiations with the band are underway, the time and money put forth by the people behind Lend a Hand, Hear the Band will finally culminate with the concert on April 16. Lend a Hand, Hear the Band, an avant-garde Minnesota Student Association volunteer program where students registering 10 volunteer hours receive a concert ticket, is in its third year, but running behind schedule this year. The MSA Lend a Hand, Hear the Band Committee, which meets weekly throughout the year, picks the band. The committee, headed by MSA Vice President Trisha Thompson , compiles a list of bands that are popular among students, but also fall within the committeeâÄôs price range. The committee then works with agents and negotiates a contract to determine expenses, the date of the concert and even the specifics of what the band will need in its dressing room, Thompson said. âÄúItâÄôs a time-consuming process,âÄù MSA Speaker of Forum Mark Lewandowski said. MSA hopes the process will end this week, giving the group two weeks for final preparations. This year, MSA set aside about $21,000 for the program, and the Office of the President gave about $23,000. The rest of this yearâÄôs approximate $60,000 budget came from fundraising by talking to corporations for sponsorships and applying for grants, Thompson said. This yearâÄôs program expenses are still pending, but former MSA Vice President Monica Heth said in 2007 the group budgeted $80,000 for the bands, renting Northrop Auditorium , security and staff, as well as publicity and technical support like sound and lighting. Because students are still clocking hours the total number logged for this year is unknown. âÄúAs we get closer to the event date, those hours will greatly increase,âÄù Lewandowski said In 2007, about 3,000 students attended the Guster concert. In 2008, students volunteered nearly 40,000 hours to see The Hold Steady , but only about 1,000 attended the concert because of poor weather conditions, Thompson said. She estimates more students will participate this year. While the bands had been announced by this time in the programâÄôs first two years, the committee is currently in the final stages of negotiations and would not reveal the band. âÄúWeâÄôve contacted numerous bands,âÄù Lewandowski said. âÄúEither the dates havenâÄôt worked or sometimes what theyâÄôre requesting for compensation is a little bit too high.âÄù As soon as the band is announced, Thompson said, MSA will promote the program by visiting student groups and placing posters and flyers around campus. MSA Campus Relations Chairwoman Missy Gettel is in charge of publicity and helps coordinate volunteer opportunities. This year MSA partnered with Greater Twin Cities United Way , which helped with funding and provided volunteer options. MSA provides several volunteer opportunities but students can register any community service hours. âÄúThey donâÄôt have to volunteer through MSA,âÄù Gettel said. âÄúA lot of people have their own interests. They can do their own volunteer hours, too.âÄù Mechanical engineering senior Adam Heinzen , who spends his free time volunteering, plans to attend the concert. âÄúItâÄôs a good incentive for people to get out there and volunteer, especially if people arenâÄôt already volunteering, they can get out there,âÄù he said. âÄúMaybe they find something they like and then they start doing it even after their hours for Lend a Hand, Hear the Band are fulfilled.âÄù