February 21, 2013

Musicians Unite to help area food pantries

Annual event raises money, awareness for area food pantries


---- — SARANAC LAKE — Music has charms to soothe beastly hunger pangs as local entertainers band together for the third-annual Musicians Unite for North Country Food Pantries benefit.

The event will be held from 10:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Adirondack Carousel, 2 Depot St. in Saranac Lake. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to make monetary donations or bring non-perishable food items.

The musicians have raised community awareness and assistance since Hurricane Katrina under the banner of Musicians Unite.

“It’s not a bona fide working organization,” said Keith Gorgas, who co-coordinates the benefit with Daun Reuter of the Dust Bunnies.

“It’s a generic name. When someone gets something going, we try to support one another and unite for different causes. We did five of these for the food pantries to raise money for them in the middle of winter when their needs are the biggest. With all kinds of cutbacks, they’re in lean times to raise more money.”

The benefit proceeds will be split between food pantries in Vermontville, Saranac Lake, Brighton and Duane. For each $1 raised, a food pantry can purchase $12 worth of food.

“If someone buys a box of crackers and they donated the same amount of money, because of matching donations and money, the pantries can buy 12 boxes of crackers,” Gorgas said.

Twenty acts will perform Saturday, starting outdoors with Cameron Anderson, the “Adirondack piper.” Genres include singer-songwriter, bluegrass, blues, classic rock, eclectic and a drum circle.

Gorgas, a singer-songwriter, mixes it up with a pick-up band, playing Americana, folk, country and blues.

“There is no cover fee to come in. What we have done is ask people to bring cash or non-perishable food for the food pantry,” he said. “There will be representatives from the food pantry there. It will go directly into the hands of the people who will be using it. 

“We just take whatever the idea is to raise awareness of the needs of the food pantry. Each year we do this, they find the donations go up for a sustainable while afterward. It’s as much to raise awareness of the ongoing needs as (it is to) give them a good shot in the arm in the dead of winter.”

Musicians Unite has raised about $10,000 over the last three years.

“We just want to get people involved and get them aware, and let people who avail themselves of the pantry know that the community is behind them and cares,” Gorgas said.

Local chefs and businesses are donating items for auction, raffle and purchase.

“It’s really community building,” Gorgas said. “It’s not just one or two people or a bunch of musicians; it’s about the whole community. We’re very thankful for that participation and people calling and saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ Trio (Upward Bound), first-generation college students, are bringing kids from three to four different colleges to move chairs and do whatever. It’s a real community effort, and a lot of people (are) making it a go.”

Email Robin Caudell:

IF YOU GO WHAT: Third-annual Musicians Unite for North Country Food Pantries benefit. WHERE: Adirondack Carousel, 2 Dept St., Saranac Lake. WHEN: 10:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. SCHEDULE: 10:45 a.m., Cameron Anderson; 11, Jubal Consort; 11:15, Barb Darring; 11:30, Rustic Riders; noon, OH! BETTY!; 12:30 p.m., Lemon Drops; 1, Jamie Savage; 1:30, Hannah Huber; 1:45, Heidi Little; 2:15, Barn Cats joined by Shamrock Jam Band; 2:45, Keith Gorgas with Shamrock Jam Band; 3, Kevin Wooley and Peter Reuter; 3:15, Theresa Hartford and Mike Portal; 3:45, Howie and Debbie Campbell; 4:15, Dust Bunnies; 4:45, Eric Klozko; 5:15, Sombabeats; 5:45, Celia Evans; 6:15, Larry Stone; 6:45, Frank Porter & Friends; and 7:30, Split Rock.