Patti Casey and the Wicked Fine Players put their musical magic to good use in a virtual benefit concert to be aired Nov. 20–22.
After many years touring nationally with Woods Tea Co., Patti Casey has reunited with longtime musical collaborator Colin McCaffrey and former Bluegrass Gospel Project bandmates Taylor Armerding, Andy Greene, Kirk Lord, and Paul Miller, to raise money for the Old Meeting House church in East Montpelier.
The church will disperse the proceeds to local and regional organizations such as Good Samaritan Haven, Onion River Food Shelf, People’s Health and Wellness Clinic, Planting Hope, Girls/Boyz First Mentoring, Central Vermont Refugee Center, Just Basics, and many more.
“The [church’s] community and the people and the beliefs and values really resonated with me. And I’ve done a lot of volunteer work for them. They’ve always been really, really supportive of art in the community,” Casey said.
The Old Meeting House raises over $18,000 to support nonprofits through fundraising events and pledges. Members also donate thousands of volunteer hours and dollars to provide meals for the homeless, for children during the summer, for seniors, and for holiday meals and gifts for families in need.
Wanting to support the church’s charity initiatives, Casey and other church members brainstormed ideas for fundraisers that could be held in a socially distant way.
“Catherine Cerulli [on the executive board] and I were trying to figure out ways to raise money for the church. And we got together on her porch and came up with some ideas. This one was easy for me to offer as a show that I could do, and I knew it would probably be popular in the area.”
Casey wanted to grow her idea into a larger project that would have the potential to reach a greater number of communities.
“I thought it would be great if we can make it bigger and have it be something that could happen, to support more than just this one event. And my friend [Gregg Banse] actually had a similar idea, so we’ve expanded it.”
They worked together to create CommArts, a platform to connect musicians with nonprofits who can collaborate to create virtual events, usually as a fundraiser for the organization. CommArts requires no fee from musicians, and any musical artist or non-profit can apply to have a profile on the CommArts website.
“There are a lot of organizations out there that are hurting right now, and a lot of musicians looking for a place to play,” said Casey. “For those of us who have been around for a long time, it gives us a chance to kind of support organizations, maybe even mentor some of the more up-and-coming musicians.”
The benefit concert will be a reunion for the former Bluegrass Gospel Project members, whose traditional bluegrass sound and dynamic harmonies are beloved throughout the state and beyond. The internationally recognized, award winning musicians will play a mix of old songs and new music from Casey and McCaffrey.
Anyone with a ticket can access the virtual show anytime between Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 22 at noon. Ticket prices are based on a pay-what-you-can donation. People can also enter into a raffle to win a “Casey and friends” house concert, “for when COVID-19 restrictions are a thing of the past.”
“This music, just by its nature, tells a story. And it’s really a celebration of community and friends and family, and that we will all be getting back together at some point.”
Tickets for the show and raffle can be purchased on commarts.org.