When the band nailed the end of the song we'd been practicing for months, I knew we were ready for our next big gig: the Community Variety Show at 3 p.m. Sunday (April 18) at the Harbor Performing Arts Center.
Good thing, too. Wednesday's rehearsal was the last for the band and the nearly two dozen local musicians preparing for the concert.
It's the second big fundraiser for fledgling Stagelights Musical Arts Community, a nonprofit providing music education and outreach to people of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay.
For the last two months, talented musicians of all ages have been practicing songs ranging from classic rock to folk to country. It's an all volunteer effort lead by one man: Gordon Later.
Gordon is a friend, an entrepreneur (owner of Earl E. Books) and a drummer. He has led weekly jam sessions at the Backstage Cafe and plays in several different bands. His love and appreciation of music knows no bounds.
When the Stagelights board of directors (of which I'm a member) chose a community variety show for our next fundraiser, Gordon stepped up immediately to organize and orchestrate the event. It was a perfect match: Gordon knows many musicians and his bookstore is a a meeting place for musicians new and old looking to network.
Before too long, Gordon's list of musicians wanting to perform at the variety show began to grow. So much so that he had more than enough music to fill a two and a half hour show.
Trying to coordinate 23 musicians, 11 band configurations and two and half-hours of music is no easy feat. Most of the musicians have day jobs, family commitments and other responsibilities. The younger musicians have school, homework and curfews. Yet they all found time to practice for the upcoming show. That's dedication.
Of course there wouldn't be a show with a place to stage it. Enter Dori Blodgett, who operates the Harbor Performing Arts Center. She offered her venue without hesitation.
It's that kind of support that makes Stagelights' efforts all worth it.
And it doesn't stop there. For the last month, Stagelights board members have gone into the community seeking sponsors and donations. Earlier this week, the group had what I refer to as the "$1,000 day." On Tuesday, the group learned it had received a $450 grant from Wild Rivers Community Foundation for its summer music academy. Then came a $250 donation from Brookings resident, artist and entrepreneur Brian Scott. And finally, Tom Jones at Brookings Signs and Graphics offered to make a Stagelights banners (a $300 value) for free.
At the same time, Kerr Ace Hardware and radio stations KURY, KCRE and KPOD offered free publicity via a reader board and air time.
Those generous offers, along with the efforts of musicians and individuals supporting Stagelights, is a wonderful validation of what the group is trying to accomplish for the community.
This Stagelights thing is turning out to be a great gig.
Hit the spotlights. Raise the curtain and let's play!