It began as a simple idea for a fundraiser: host a benefit concert to raise money for G.I. Joe Search & Rescue while promoting the organization to the community. The end result was all that — and much more.

The August 20 night event had food, music, comedy, and fashion. The Access Group Media warehouse completely transformed from a printing factory into a classy banquet room, adorned in black, white and red, and complete with tablecloths and fancy centerpieces. Tables lining the walls sported artwork and other merchandise as silent auction items.

T-shirts sponsored by Anh Oi and TWLOHA were auctioned off for G.I. Joe. Photo courtesy of Tommy Su - SnapIt Studio

The evening featured a blend of Asian American and young talent of diverse backgrounds and genres. The night’s program was hosted by Andrew and David Fung, the YouTube comedy duo otherwise known as the Fung Bros. Matthew Nguyen-Truong and forWord Collective kicked off the event with back-to-back spoken word performances.

Indie folk pop group Peachy Keene was the first of the musical talent to go up and gave the concert its lively start. Tony T. Nguyen’s band was comprised of special guests Kim Tran, Can Nguyen of Poreotics, and Bart and Joe from JustKiddingFilms.

Can Nguyen of Poreotics. Photo courtesy of Tommy Su - SnapIt Studio

Other performers (all volunteers for this cause, by the way) were Kindred Fall, Josh Damigo, and Andrew Figueroa Chiang. The closing set featured Hinobi, a Japanese American group whose style is a fusion of hip hop, R&B, and rock.

Anh Oi and To Write Love On Her Arms donated t-shirts to be modeled in the fashion show and then auctioned off to benefit G.I. Joe. Designer Julie Hoang, who created a line of military-inspired outfits also modeled in the show, agreed to donate a portion of her clothing sales back to the organization. The fashion show also featured the late Joe Le’s artwork printed onto t-shirts.

A slideshow on G.I. Joe Search & Rescue and a heartfelt video dedication by Dia Frampton (of the band Meg & Dia and the runner-up of NBC’s The Voice) capped off the evening’s presentations, informing the audience on the foundation’s mission and the individual who started it all: Joe Le.

Sophie Bao Tran went behind the scenes for SBTN’s Top Entertainment Report, which can be viewed here:

The concert raised a total of $1,300, which is enough to send five G.I. Joe members to a search and rescue seminar for SAR certification, certify twenty members in CPR, and first aid certify fifteen more.

What’s next for G.I. Joe? Already they’ve been booked for another search mission taking place in Northern California. The group also plans to continue finding ways to fundraise and build the organization.

If you are interested in joining G.I. Joe or would like to donate to the foundation, visit www.gij411.org for more information.

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