Immediately after the Asian Tsunami which hit shores on December 26th and has claimed over 200,000 lives, individuals across the globe wondered what they could do to help the survivors of this natural disaster. Many of us made faceless, seemingly impersonal donations to a variety of causes. We tried to wrap our minds around how such a large scale clean-up effort might even begin to take place. But for many of us the feeling of distanced impotence remained and the belief that our donations could not even make a dent dominated our thoughts. However, for the board of Music Aid Northwest (MAN), the Tsunami was a galvanizing force; "Let's throw a benefit show." Within three weeks, David Harris and Mike Sherrill, among others, had organized a show with local artists donating their time, and Mark Naficy, MAN board member and owner of The Premier Club donating a terrific venue. 100% of the proceeds were designated to go directly to CARE, one of the world's leading humanitarian organizations.
Friday, January 28th, several hundred people came out to support the relief effort and to see performances by Stolen Ogre featuring recent Pacific North West transplant John Popper and co-Traveler Brendan Hill, with the Geoffrey Castle Band featuring two members of Heart, and White, featuring Alan White of Yes. The evening rounded out with an all-star finale with all these musicians, as well as a Jimi Hendrix impersonator, indulging in a 70's-inspired, solo-heavy set. KZOK 102.5 FM, Seattle's classic rock station was a major sponsor, and their target demographic was prominently represented both on stage and in the audience. There were other impersonators roaming around and taking pictures with audience members as well as artists offering up caricatures – all for a wee donation. Although most of the music and the scene was not "my bag," the event was definitely a success, and it really couldn't have been better for people watching.
By the end of the evening, the benefit had raised over $10,200 for CARE to use for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. A bit about the organization: CARE has a long-term presence in over 70 developing nations, including 30 years in all the countries affected by the disaster. CARE's focus is two-fold; first, to aid in emergency relief and immediate rehabilitation, and second, to continue promotion of community development and basic social services. Immediately after the tsunami struck, before our government had even responded, CARE staff in five affected countries were already distributing clean water and water purification tablets, food, basic medicines and first aid kits, shelter and bedding, clothing, soap, and candles. CARE USA is just over half-way to their goal of raising $50 million to aid the efforts in the years to come. If you would like to make a contribution, please visit www.careusa.org. For every $1 donated, CARE is often able to leverage another $6 in funds from public sources, which can go a very long way.
Michael McMorrow of Stolen Ogre
It's truly heartwarming to see the response as other artists are staging their own benefits; notably moe. and Trey Anastasio at the Roseland Ballroom on February 10th. There have been many, many "All-Star" events around the world already, with more planned. Indeed, a show featuring Seattle's own all-stars - members of Alice in Chains, Heart, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and others - is in the works for February 18th at The Premiere Club, again with proceeds going directly to CARE. For artists and their fans, it is contributing to a greater humanitarian effort that brings them peace. As Stolen Ogre's Michael McMorrow put it, "We don't have much control over Mother Nature, but we do have control over how we treat each other... It's all how we respond, how we act as people."
JamBase | Pacific Northwest
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