Eight local bands of various genres came together to perform at a benefit concert for music students in the Caribbean affected by the recent hurricanes on Sunday at Gramps in Wynwood.
Jeffrey Sadowsky, owner of the Music Talent Association in Miami and creator of the concert, said he partnered with the bar’s owner to hold the drive.
“Nobody’s talking much about the Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, St. Vincent,” he said. “I wanted to focus on those little islands because they need attention, too.”
Participating bands included Drawing Board, Hisway Road and Candy Wheela’s Island Jazz Band.
“Looking through Craigslist, I saw Jeffrey had an opening for a band and mentioned it to the rest of the members,” said Ricky Velez, a guitarist for Hisway Road. “We wanted to participate and help in any way we could.”
Julio Acosto, the conga player for Island Jazz Band, said he overheard people talking about the event at local music stores.
“I heard Sam Ash and Guitar Center were helping sponsor the event,” said Acosto, “so I knew I wanted to be involved.”
Candy Wheela, another member of the band, agreed.
“We came to help because music is important,” she said. “It’s a part of life, and for future generations, we want them all to have instruments and learn to play them. It all starts when they’re young.”
Throughout the afternoon, audience members head banged to the modern rock and roll sound of Miami’s Drawing Bored, while they swayed to Hisway Way’s “Wake Up.” The musical notes filled the outdoor patio as audience members ate pizza and drank beer.
Patti Smith and her husband Jeff spent the afternoon listening to the music after hearing about the event in the Miami Herald.
“It was printed in the Neighbors section, and the donation drive caught my attention,” she said. “I thought it would be a nice way for us to enjoy our day off!”
Hisway Road’s lead singer Jorge Amaro had family members impacted by Hurricane Irma, leading to him wanting to take part in the concert.
“[Velez and I are] island boys,” he said, whose family resides in Puerto Rico. “Whether it’s an event like this or any other time, a lot of the islands are in dire need of different materials. Anything that anyone can do to step up and help is welcomed.”
Though the concert’s main goal was to obtain both new and used instruments and accessories, Sadowsky enough money was raised to also send cash to the affected areas.
“I’m in touch with the Virgin Island’s newspaper, The Virgin Islands Daily News,” he said. “They will be helping out in any way they can with the distribution of the instruments.”
Sadowsky he is planning to hold another event soon.