Playing blues to brighten the holidays

This was in the print and online editions of the City Pulse on Wednesday November 16, 2011.

Playing blues to brighten the holidays

by Nicole LaChance

As Lansing residents prepare to stuff their turkeys and mash their potatoes, local charities will be collecting donations for the area’s poor and hungry. To celebrate the season of giving, two local charities are coming together to bring awareness and raise money for their respective causes.

The eighth annual Breakin’ Bread with the Blues concert and fundraiser takes place Sunday at the Green Door Blues Bar & Grill in Lansing. The concert features performances by Frog and the Malonetones, Big Bill Harwell and the Blues Ambassadors and Zydecrunch and will be bookended by 2011 Blues Brawl winners Andy Wilson & Johnny D  and The Hoopties. Proceeds from the event benefit the Greater Lansing Food Bank and the Capital Area Blues Society.

“The event started in 2004 as a fundraiser for the Capital Area Blues Society,” said Mike Skory, president of the board of directors for the society. “However, it soon became evident that the event could also be used to help the local community.” Since the event takes place around the holidays, it made sense to partner with the food bank, he added.

Founded in 1995, CABS aims to preserve, promote and educate about blues music in the Lansing area, Skory said. The food bank provides assistance to families in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. The organization will use the money raised to feed local people during the holiday season, said Alex Bryan, the food bank’s outreach coordinator.

“You are able to support local musicians, a local business and a local non-profit all in one,” Bryan said. “It’s a community investment in multiple ways.”

The event is also a way for local musicians to show off their bluesy talent. The Hoopties are excited to be closing the show and participating in an event that helps their community, said bass player and vocalist Jason Strotheide.

“We’re just glad to have the opportunity to help where we can. We´re all very busy with our personal lives so we don´t perform much and having time to do something that benefits our community in this manner isn´t always feasible,” he said. “We´re looking forward to getting the Greater Lansing Food Bank a head start on a very busy season.”

Strotheide is also the former president of CABS and was one of the original creators of the event. He said they chose a Thanksgiving benefit to get a headstart on fundraising for the holidays and to avoid the Christmas season, which is usually packed with events.

Fifty percent of the door and all food donated will go to the food bank; the other 50 percent, according to Skory, will go to the CABS for production costs for the show and general operation of the organization. The benefit also features a raffle for the 2011 Blues Festival signature guitar.

The Green Door’s weekly blues jam, featuring Bad Gravy, follows the event at 9:30 p.m.

‘Breakin’ Bread with the Blues’

Sunday, Nov. 19

Green Door Blues Bar & Grill, 2005 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

Doors at 3 p.m.; concert 4 to 9 p.m.

$10, with a donated food item; 16 and under free with donation of a food item

http://www.cabsblues.com

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