Benefit Concert held to raise funds for UW-Eau Claire student

Department of Music and Theater Arts support injured student through music

Derek+Fritz+and+Brett+McLellan+organized+a+Benefit+Concert+for+Henry+Gomez+in+Gantner+Concert+Hall.

Photo by Sam Farley

Derek Fritz and Brett McLellan organized a Benefit Concert for Henry Gomez in Gantner Concert Hall.

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The Department of Music and Theater Arts gathered in the Gantner Concert Hall in Haas Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday for a benefit concert to raise funds for a UW-Eau Claire student’s medical bills.

Henry Gomez, a sophomore instrumental music education student, who is a part of the university’s marching band, is in critical condition after falling from a roof about two weeks ago, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Derek Fritz and Brett McLellan, two fellow marching band members, organized the benefit and sent out emails to raise awareness.

To kick off the concert, Fritz, a junior instrumental music education student, informed the crowd that Gomez is on a “speedy road to recovery.”

“Today the doctors actually got him talking a little bit, which they didn’t think he’d do for a few months,” Fritz said.

Admission to the concert was free, but donations were highly encouraged. There were tables set up outside the concert hall so people could give cash, checks and electronic payments after and during the performances that will be given directly to Gomez’s family.

The GoFundMe page set up for Gomez had raised $8,170 as of Tuesday morning. According to the page, the goal is $10,000.

Fritz and McLellan both felt it necessary to show Gomez and his family they weren’t alone in this unfortunate incident.

“It was a way for Haas, along with the whole community, to show their support through music,” McLellan said. “We as musicians express ourselves through music … And Henry can relate to that. So this was the best way we could think of to show our support, and I think we did a pretty darn good job.”

Musicians from all over the Music and Art Department put in work and dedication to display a concert for Gomez.

The concert consisted of an assortment of performers such as the Vivaci Brass Quintet, Women’s Concert Chorale, UW-Eau Claire Trombone Choir, The Singing Statesmen, Clearwater Brass Quintet, Sarcoline Saxophone Quartet, UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble II and the Blugold Marching Band Leadership.

The Blue Stars Wind Ensemble also came out perform. The ensemble knew Gomez from working with him during the summer and came from all over the United States to play.

While Fritz and McLellan were responsible for putting together the benefit concert they made sure to thank four faculty members who were a huge factor in the success of the benefit.

“We need to make sure that Judy Gray Publications Coordinator, Dr. Gretchen Peters Department Chair and Professor of Music History, Beth Hellwig Vice Chancellor, and Kelly Olsen Academic Department Associate get the credit they deserve,” Fritz said. “I don’t think any of this would’ve happened without them.”

Those who couldn’t make it to the concert and want to donate can do so through the GoFundMe page set up on Sept. 22 by Ward Miller from Eden Prairie, Minn.