Here on the West Coast, we have enjoyed something even greater than our usual good luck in dodging the extreme weather events — heat waves and hurricanes, droughts and floods — that have bedeviled most of the United States, to say nothing of the rest of the planet. In East Africa, of course, a severe and crippling drought has long since wiped out what was never much more than a subsistence agriculture in the first place, producing a horrifying famine.
Now, it seems, poets and other artists have transcended the warning stage and are beginning to take action: They have discovered the power of fundraising. In response to the East African famine, destroying the lives of 12 million people, Santa Barbara’s musicians and dancers are uniting to present a marathon fundraising concert beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Center Stage Theater, upstairs in the Paseo Nuevo mall.
All proceeds from the concert will be handed over to Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief International, which, with its partners in the disaster regions, provides medical assistance to 59 countries around the world (100 percent of the donations made to Direct Relief International go to its projects, thanks to a generous bequest received in 2007). Every dollar donated turns into $30 worth of medicine and medical supplies.
Musicians performing at the benefit include Adrian Spence and Egle Januleviciute, Bob Ledner, Diane Stevenett, the FRBC String Octet, George and Marcella Quirin, the Gove County String Quartet (Sally Barr and Laura Hackstein on violins, Kirsten Monke on viola and Jim Connolly on contrabass), with Anna Abbey, Jesse Rhodes, Joanie Collins, Kimberly Ford, Luis Munoz Quartet, Randy Tico, Rebecca Troon, Roy Donkin, The Sally Cats, The South Coast Swedes, The Swizzle Sisters, Teka, Tom Towle, dancer Vanessa Isaac and her troupe, and Yogi Mango.
You’d have to be absolutely indifferent to all music not to want to hear at least two or three of these acts. (For my part, any chance to hear Januleviciute, especially if she is collaborating with Spence, is worth whatever it costs.) There is certainly no question of the worthiness of the cause.
The price of one ticket ($51.50) gets you a five-hour music and dance concert, a raffle ticket for the trivia contest hosted by Madalena, plus beverages and appetizers. More raffle tickets may be purchased at the theater. Prizes include autographed CD packages and other items. For tickets and more information, click here or call the Center Stage box office at 805.963.0408.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.