Sigma Chi’s Roquacade raises funds and the roof

Where’s Winona Now? warmed up the crowd at the start of the fundraiser. Photos by Henry Shorr / The Jambar

By Henry Shorr

Youngstown State University students and other Youngstown fans got to enjoy the sounds of Where’s Winona Now?, The Broken Relics, and the Labra Brothers at Sigma Chi’s Roquacade fundraiser concert. The event, which took place at the Lemon Grove on March 25, was held to raise money for The Huntsman Cancer Institute. 

Alex Papa, a junior history major and Roquacade chair at Sigma Chi, said this was possibly the most successful fundraiser the fraternity had, raising $6,000 for cancer research. 

“This is one of the biggest groups we’ve ever had for sure. I think it went really well — I think this may be the most money we’ve ever raised,” Papa said.

Where’s Winona Now? kicked off the show. It played high-energy music to a receptive crowd. Singer Lucy Sawyer said she’s glad to be back playing shows now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing up.

“It’s a really good feeling, and we are playing so many shows — like an overwhelming amount of shows right now — but it’s been good. I’m happy that we’re back,” Sawyer said. “I thought the turnout was pretty good. We were kind of surprised, we weren’t sure how it was going to be.”

Guitarist Dom DiVencenzo was glad for the turnout, noting it can be hit-or-miss with university-based shows. This is one of the first shows this iteration of the band has played. Chris Ferrick, formerly the band’s drum tech, is now playing drums, and Tyler Torporcer is back with Where’s Winona Now? on guitar.

The Broken Relics followed up with another high-energy set. It brought the biggest crowd to the show as this band has strong ties to YSU. Alex Jakovina, the band’s bassist, spoke about their connection to the school, including the fact Bryce Warmouth, singer and guitarist for The Broken Relics, is a YSU alumnus.

“Bryce graduated from YSU, and we grew up going to YSU games and all that — tailgating with our parents and all that — so I mean, we’re very familiar with the downtown campus area,” Jakovina said.

The band claims both Youngstown and Columbus, as half the band lives here and half lives in the state capital. Jakovina said coming back to Youngstown to play a show was meaningful to him and the rest of the band. He expressed how grateful he is for a hometown crowd.

“[Coming back to Youngstown] is always such a good time. I think what I enjoy most about it — and I probably speak for a lot of the other guys in the band — is it’s our hometown. So when we’re playing, I feel like the crowds are just very engaged because it’s all friends and family and the other bands,” Jakovina said. “It’s so fun to just get everyone together, a lot of people we haven’t seen in a long time just from COVID. We want to come back and get a room full of people and all that. It’s just a lot of fun.”

The Labra Brothers closed the show out with a funky set that was full of life. The band is composed of the four Labra brothers as well as Matt Hayes on drums and Danny Svenson on keys. The brothers belted out a steady mix of eclectic music, complete with brother David Labra switching between saxophone and guitar and the youngest brother, Antonio Labra, rounding out the sound by not only singing backup but playing percussion instruments as well.

Papa was proud of the work Sigma Chi put into this event and, in his eyes, the work paid off. He was glad it could facilitate not only a large donation to St. Jude’s but also a good experience for everyone involved.

“We’re raising money for cancer for St. Jude’s, so it’s a very worthy cause, but it’s really just to have fun. We’re here to get to know everyone better or get to have the college experience the best we possibly can,” he said. “It’s so much fun because you’re doing something good while you’re doing that too.”

If interested in donating to The Huntsman Cancer Institute, visit its website.

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