The weather may be chilly and assignments may pile up, but the power of pub nights never fails to attract and unify students. On Thursday evening, the Blind Duck boomed with music and energy from the Middle Eastern Students Association’s Rise to Raise pub night.

MESA collaborated with the Association of Palestinian Students and the UTM Music Club to bring a night of music, dance, and other performances.

The event marks MESA’s first charity pub night of the year. All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards assisting Dar al Aytam, an orphanage in Palestine.

Redwin Kelly kicked off the night, earning numerous cheers with their alternative rock cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. The bandmates performed with expertise as their lead singer carried smooth vocals throughout.

Spoken word poet Haneen Abou followed, expressing her sentiments for countries across the Middle East. She commented on the media’s emphasis on the Paris terrorist attacks and consequent ignoring of the results of bombing in Beirut.

“The media’s portrayal is beyond delusional,” she said. “Before you associate the Middle East with destruction, allow yourself a proper introduction.”

Singer Aseel Aoun performed an Arabic song acapella. There’s something particularly beautiful about songs in another language—the beauty of the music able to surpass language barriers, and that the listener cannot be distracted by the lyrics. Though the singer stuttered due to her nerves, the pub cheered her on and applauded their encouragement.

The executives planned Pictionary to take place during intermission, resulting in excited screams every few minutes from a person who won a round. Soon, though, the audience refocused their attention on the performances by singers and dancers. At the end of the event, everyone joined together for dabke, a form of Arabic folk dance.

I guess even the looming presence of exams and never-ending essays can’t keep UTM from rocking out.