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Thursday, July 25, 2013 06:23 am

Music to the rescue

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The Old Fashioneds play good old music this weekend for fundraisers at Rock the Arts, Saturday on the Old State Capitol Plaza and Sunday at Donnie’s Homespun for Save More Bees.
PHOTO BY NICHOLAS RAINEY

Have you noticed whenever someone thinks about doing a benefit for something, live music is the main draw? Auctions, raffles and donations may make the cash, but the music magnet gets ’em there. If you don’t believe me, just ask a musician and you’ll find out more requests come in for playing for free for a cause or for a need than you can shake a tambourine at. And that covers all levels from Band Aid, Farm Aid, concerts against nuclear power plants and for legalizing marijuana to local benefits for kids with cancer and families who lost homes and loved ones to natural disasters.

Every step of the way you will hear about musicians playing for fun and free to help out others in whatever way they can, supporting cause after cause, with dignity and pleasure, giving what they’ve got to help others. Jingle Jam, SOHO, Make-a-Wish, BassBerg just pop into my mind as local concerts for charitable causes with many more out there deserving attention.

This Saturday on the Old State Capitol Plaza from 4 to 10 p.m. comes Rock the Arts, a “music festival/fundraiser/block party” set to raise funds for and awareness of Gallery II, a downtown business and art space operated by the nonprofit, cool-as-can-be, local visual arts organization called Prairie Art Alliance. Musicians playing to entertain and entice you, include CJ Thunder, John Irwin, The Old Fashioneds, John Brillhart, Boon and The Transatlantic, all for a $5 general admission, $3 for students, with kids 12 and under getting in for nothing. Along with the music comes two art installations set for public participation and other fun stuff. As reminded in the press release from Jennifer Snopko, interim executive director of the PAA and event organizer Chris Maxey, three downtown art galleries closed in the past year and support is needed to keep the arts alive and thriving. The other event host, Downtown Springfield, Inc. recently sponsored the Artification project with terrific results. Together we can keep the art ball rolling to enhance and energize our fair city and fine community through the power and presence of art. For more information check out prairieart.org/events.

This Sunday, there’s a rather interesting event called Save More Bees at Donnie’s Homespun from 2 to 11 p.m. with music by Monkey and the Engineers, Hot Bag of Donuts, Murder of Crowes, Old Fashioneds, Sunshine Daydream and me. Organized to help local bee rescuer Arvin Pierce raise funds to continue his good work in taking swarms of feral bees from places they aren’t wanted and putting them in working, wooden hives in areas where they can thrive and serve their vital purpose; it’s become an education to those participating and learning the real story of the plight of the honeybees. You too, can learn about the process. Friends of Arvin’s, including incredible work by area artist Matthew Schultz, set him up with an Indiegogo fundraising project where folks can donate money and receive awards for helping. Check that out at igg.me/at/savemorebees. Come on down for a bee-you-ti-full time that will have you buzzing and don’t forget the bee look-a-like costume contest.

Once again Prairie Art Alliance is gearing up for Poets, Painters and Performers, bringing together three branches of the arts in a fascinating exchange of creativity. You artists in those categories – poets, artists and musicians – need to go to http://www.prairieart.org/PoetsPaintersPerformers2013.asp ASAP and read up on how you can participate in this Sept. soiree. Please do so now. The deadline has been extended from last week to the end of this week, but not for much longer.

Now music can happily ride off into the sunset.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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