By 10:00am on May 16th, 2015 volunteers from all over New York City had already gathered at The New School University Center to help coordinate between ticketing, technical setup and logistics. At the same time, the event planning team led by Ashok Gurung, Rina Gurung and Kevin Wenzel was ensuring that program for the night would go smoothly and ironing out any last minute details. Each volunteer received a “Hamro Nepal” t-shirt, which was generously donated by key members of the Gurung (Tamu) Society. Run throughs, A/V setup, sound checks and rehearsals took place in the afternoon in the auditorium while volunteers were prepped on their respective roles in the team.
Around 5:00pm, food and refreshments arrived to give the team some energy as the event loomed. Some of the food was prepared by home cooks and members of The Gurung Society while the rest was generously donated by a local Nepali restaurant in Queens.
With all of this out of the way, it was time for the event planning team to conduct a final run through and ensure all bases were covered for the event. By 7:30pm, guests already started to arrive into the lobby of the University Center. Just with the initial crowd, it was clear that this initiative had reached far and wide, bringing together people from all walks of life.
As planned, doors opened at 8:00pm sharp – guests were ready to get to their seats. As guests were coming into the new John L. Tishman Auditorium at The New School Auditorium, volunteers spread across the auditorium to assist guests with seat and any question they may have had. On the stage screen were a set of images that were representative of the disaster that hit Nepal as well as relief efforts on the ground.
By 8:30pm most everyone was seated and the event program was underway. Less than 30 minutes into the programming, Muna Gurung, the emcee for the night, happily announced that we had already reached our initial goal to raise $100,000 through our indiegogo campaign! This exemplified how swiftly the Nepali and New York community acted to help support the rebuilding of hard hit rural areas near the epicenter of the earthquakes. In less than 20 days more than 400 people had donated to our campaign – truly a great achievement!! The event had more than 500 in attendance with only 2 weeks of planning for the event.
The event went along smoothly and embodied the emotional atmosphere of the auditorium. The event was carefully curated to grow from somber to a more hopeful note by the end of the night. Fashion Designer, and alumnus of Parsons School of Design, Prabal Gurung spoke about how he is working to help support Nepal before introducing the headline for the show. The headlining act, Red Baraat, ended the night with the right kind of energy to lighten the mood of those in attendance and gave people that hope. By the last song of the night, speakers and guest were walking up and joining Red Baraat on stage for a little bit of dancing and singing.
This special initiative was truly amazing and did its part in raising awareness, bringing community together, and fundraising for Nepal, Hamro Nepal.