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Photos: Puerto Rico Benefit Concert At Normal Theater

A benefit concert was held on Monday at the Normal Theater to raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.

Anabelle Chinski and KeKe Hardin welcome the audience.
Credit Carleigh Gray / WGLT
Anabelle Chinski, left, and KeKe Hardin welcome the audience.

"I'm just so excited for it to start," Keke Hardin exclaimed before the Puerto Rican benefit concert began.

The event was the culmination of months spent planning and organizing by two Normal Community High School juniors, Keke Hardin and Anabelle Chinski. They noticed the need for community involvement to fund the reconstruction of Puerto Rico after the Category Four hurricane that ran over the island in September.

The benefit concert showcased many talented musicians as well as speakers to explain their personal connection to Puerto Rico. Audience members had the opportunity to donate throughout the evening to the cause before finishing the night out with singing and clapping along to traditional Spanish music.

Hardin and Chinski chose a benefit concert rather than a fundraiser when they recognized the many talented musicians that live in the Bloomington-Normal community who were willing to lend a hand. Illinois State University professors Yojanna Cuenca Carlino and Maura Toro-Morn, and Illinois Wesleyan professor Daynali Flores Rodriguez worked closely with the two students as they organized the event.

In addition to the benefit concert, a seminar on Friday educated the Bloomington-Normal community about Puerto Rico and the impact Hurricane Maria has had on the island.

At the end of the benefit, Hardin and Chinski were beyond happy with the turnout.

“This is something we are very passionate about and glad that it has become such a big thing," Chinski said.

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