The semi-surprise appearance by actor and singer-songwriter Drake Bell on February 22 helped a student-organized fundraiser collect more than $10,000 for the cause. Bell, who has appeared in many films and became a tween-pop heartthrob as co-star of Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh,” delighted an all-ages crowd in the University’s 500-seat Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.
Thanks to audience donations, merchandise sales, and an anonymous matching donor, the event generated more than $10,000 for the Thirst Project, a California-based nonprofit organization that supports water and sanitation improvements in developing nations.
The concert was organized by UIndy senior Ryan Brock in conjunction with Thirst Project founder and CEO Seth Maxwell, an Indianapolis native now based in Los Angeles.
Brock spent months organizing the concert and arranging performances by local bands. When some entertainers fell through on short notice, Bell—an official spokesperson for the Thirst Project—agreed to fly out and perform for no fee.
His UIndy appearance was not widely publicized, but through word of mouth and Facebook postings, the news trickled out to local fans, who lined up early outside the University’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.
Bell was generous with his time before and after the concert, Brock said. “He was so good with the kids. He took the time to make sure everybody got an autograph or a picture or whatever they wanted.”
(Clips from Bell’s performance have made their way to YouTube. Visit http://www.uindy.edu/news/?p=4698 for some clips of the concert preparations and Bell signing autographs and providing interviews with Brock and Maxwell.)