Benefit for the Food Bank: A Long, But Rewarding Night

Let's start with bottom line:  More than $500 and two loads of food and clothing for the Sacramento Food Bank. 

Wow!  That shows the generosity of folks and how important the efforts of others -- Ross Hammond, other musicians, and the owners of Antquite Maison Privee -- were to an evening of music for a good cause.

At times, the result did not seem possbile.  At 5:45, the traffic on the 50 from Sacramento to West Sacramento was a snarl.  And I had to load up drums and other equipment at the Doghouse and get them to Sacramento by 6:30.

As I searched for an exit, the Little Voice started up.  “If you stay the course, you’ll be lucky to get the drum kit to town tonight.  You’re going to look like another undependable musician.”  Of course, that made two assumptions: one, that musicians are undependable, and, two, that I can be categorized as a musician.  The Little Voice harped on, “Why did you get on the freeway anyway?”

After finding an exit, going back to where I started, and taking an alternative route, I managed to get the drums to the Antiquite Maison Privee by 6:35 -- only five minutes late.  By 7:00, they were set up on stage and ready for Crossing the River.  Only two “full bands” -- that is, bands using drums -- were on the bill for the Holiday Benefit Concert for the Sacramento Food Bank.  Crossing the River was the first and scheduled to open the show at 7:00.  The Pups were the other and scheduled to play last -- at 10:30.

As 7:00 approached, Ross and the owners of the Antiquite Maison Privee were readying for the show.  They and few of the performers were the only folks in the building. 

The Little Voice started up again, “This has the makings of a bust.”  Maybe the Little Voice was going to be correct.  Neither the Bee nor the News & Review included the Benefit in their print versions.  Even though Sacramento365 listed the Benefit among its “Top Ten” for the week, the links on the website did not work.  Very little buzz was apparent on Facebook.

How could the print media ignore a benefit for a good cause featuring a line-up which included excellent and some acclaimed musicians?

Buzz or no buzz.  Media support or no media support.  Internet glitches or no internet glitches.  Big audience or small audience.  The show was going to go on.  Each artist on the bill was a consummate and experienced “professional.”  Anybody who paid the price of admission -- a donation of cash, food or clothing -- was treated to strong performance.

The crowd peaked for the two headliners.  Sitting in the audience and enjoying the original songs of Kevin Seconds -- a Sacramento icon -- accompanied by his wife, Allyson, and the readings of Electropoetic Coffee, I thought, “What great performances.  If only . . . .”  Lawrence Dinkins, Jr., finished the How the Grinch Stole Christmas to enthusiastic applause, and Electropoetic Coffee left the stage.

Even though one act remained, after 3-1/2 hours of outstanding performances, most of the audience filed out of the building.  They were done, had seen the headliners, and did not need to wait for somebody to schlep drums and amps back onto the stage. 

When we finally were set up, I looked at the 15 or so diehards who were left.  We were about to perform for the smallest audience in our history as a band.  But that did not deter us from delivering an energetic and fun-filled 20 minutes -- our allotted time.

When we hit the final chord of “Jack-the-Ripper” shortly after 11:00, the 5:45 traffic jam had been forgotten.  Instead, my thoughts were about how to get more buzz and a bigger audience next year.

Ross’ report came the next day and made the long evening really worthwhile.  Final tally:  more than $500 and two loads of food and clothing for the Sacramento Food Bank.

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