It’s a great honor for me to work among what is arguably some of the most talented & community minded musicians/bands in the country. The Lehigh Valley is fertile soil rich with not only talent but heart. David Ivory the President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) is an advocate of the talent in our area and their mindset. At a 2010 open board meeting of the Lehigh Valley Music Awrds (LVMA) Mr. Ivory addressed the more that 60 in attendance and he spoke of the remarkable comradery of the industry here and how no where else in the business has he seen such a like mined group that supports each other and believes that we all have a vested interest in the success of our peers and that when one falls we all come together to lift them up.
It is therefore no surprise that when Allentown was stricken with such a horrendous tragedy as the natural gas explosion of February 10th more than 40 musicians and bands contacted LVMA and Mary Pierce Entertainment and came forward to volunteer to perform at a series of benefit concerts to raise money to help our neighbors begin rebuilding their homes and their lives.
The United Way and The American Red Cross were among the first to respond. They have a corporate mission to fulfill and as such they have to make funds that are donated available to anyone in the State that is affected by such a tragedy. At this time any funds filtered through these charities is not going to the survivors of the Allentown Explosion.
In the Lehigh Valley we take care of our own. The help received from national charities is appreciated but the baton has been passed and this community is prepared to take on the challenge. The Lehigh Valley Music Awards (LVMA) and Women in Art in Pennsylvania (WIAIPA) both 501(c)3 non profit organizations will be sponsoring a series of 6 benefit concerts beginning February 27th and ending with a finale event at Pig Pen on May 1st. All donations to these events is tax deductable
These organizations operate with no overhead because 100% of what they do is done through volunteers and that makes it possible for every penny raised to be dispersed amongst the survivors and those affected by the explosion. The first event raised $3000 and the Salvation Army took 3 truck loads of items needed by those displaced by the explosion. Some of the families affected by the explosion where in attendance and told their stories. It was truly heart wrenching.
It’s important to keep the magnitude of this tragedy in perspective. Five people lost their lives and 3 of them from the same family. 8 homes where leveled to the ground, more than 16 were damaged and over 70 people will be displaced long term. The material need is great and so is the spiritual.
Times are tough and some people want to give but they don’t think they can afford it. Its not just treasure that is needed, time and talent are coveted as well. If you can send your treasure, make a monetary donation or send in something that be can auction off. If that is not possible offer your time and talent to volunteer for an event. Come and if nothing else offer a smile and a word of encouragement. Let people like Manual Cruz, who lost his Mother, his daughter and his grandbaby, know that all is not lost though in his heart he feels like it is. They need to rebuild there homes and that takes money but they need to rebuild there lives and that takes love. This community can and will help with both.
Please support the Hope for Allentown series of benefit concerts by coming to one of the events, donating, volunteering or spreading the word. For more information go to the following web sites: www.lehighvalleymusicawards.org or www.wiaipa.org or call Mary Pierce at 267-574-5334 or Gloria Domina at 215-421-5444.