When Cody Clinton began putting together a benefit concert, he had no idea how all encompassing his mission would become. For that matter, those who attend Saturday night's Concert for Nicaragua will get a glimpse of this mission, but by no means a full understanding of everything going on behind the scenes.
The activity at the venue isn't the most impressive aspect of the event, however. It's the organization that the concert supports, 123 International, which is based out of Tulsa.
Director Victor Linscomb takes a small group into the rainforests of Nicaragua up to seven times a year where they administer medicine for those in need, thus saving lives and improving the quality of life for those affected.
While many organizations with a similar humanitarian mission have high overhead and a well-paid staff, Linscomb does most of the work out his own pocket and runs a very lean operation. In turn, more than 90 percent of money donated to the organization goes directly toward helping those in need.
What exactly does 123 International do? The organization addresses a number of issues, but its primary concern is treating villages in the rainforests and mountains of North and West Nicaragua for intestinal worms. It's largely a non-issue here in the U.S., but in the impoverished rainforests of South America, intestinal worms are an unfortunate fact of life which not only cause malnutrition, but take the lives of the young and old alike if left untreated.
Linscomb and his groups travel more than 60 miles by river before riding mules into the mountain ranges to treat the people by administering albendazole, which kills the intestinal parasites and can provide relief within two days. It might seem like throwing money or medicine at the problem would be a simple solution, but that's not the case, as Linscomb has seen firsthand.
"It costs us about fifty cents for the medicine itself and about $1.50 to get it to them," he said. "It's not something you can throw medicine or money at, though. If you throw money at it, nothing will happen. These people are extremely poor and can't resist the temptation to sell it or trade it for food if given the opportunity."
That's why 123 International not only delivers the medication, but sets up clinics and administers it, making sure those treated ingest the medication, instead of smuggling it out, which has been attempted on many occasions.
"Studies have shown that if we de-worm a village, it can increase productivity by roughly 45 percent," Linscomb said. "And if there's a school in the area, the children will finish an extra two years of school."
The groups also teach cleanliness and basic hygiene principles to villagers in an effort to curb further infections. Although much of what is being taught is common knowledge and practice here, it can be a life changing lesson in a village that has no running water or proper latrines. Many families live in a one-room home with dirt floors and keep any livestock inside with them at night, in order to protect them from predators.
A short explanation may oversimplify the issue, but it gives you a general idea of the group's mission. Once you hear the details, though, the story becomes that much more engaging. If you don't believe me, ask Cody Clinton.
He's gotten far more involved than he originally planned.
"I've know Victor for over 12 years," Clinton said. "I've been close friends with his son since middle school and bumped into him and asked 'What are you doing here?' and he told me 'going to Nicaragua...'
"I had wanted to get some bands together and was looking for a cause, but still didn't fully know what I wanted to do. I figured this is someone I know, it's a small organization and money is coming from his pockets instead of going into them. It's not an organization where people are paid to do charity work.
"I talked to some friends and we all agreed that we would like a good reason to get together and do something. When I showed them the pictures and explained what was being done, there were no questions. Everyone was on board."
The concert is Saturday, April 11 at The Marquee with a lineup that's impressive in its own right. Handpicked and recruited by Clinton, the show includes Jesse Aycock Band, Motive For Movement, Pilgrim, Vandevander, Cecada, Physiques, Miniver Cheevy, The Yellow Pansies, Alex and the Anders and, of course, Cody Clinton and the Bishops.
Pilgrim, the band led by Beau Roberts, headlines the evening with an open end that should turn into an all-star jam of sorts.
"It will be kind of like The Last Waltz of Tulsa," Clinton said. "That's my hope, anyway."
Tickets for the show are $6 in advance or $8 at the door and 100 percent of the money from concert is going to 123 International. Everything for the concert has been donated; from the artists' time to the venue and sound system, so all of the proceeds can go directly to the cause. The show starts at 6pm.
"When we say 'Music that's saving lives' it's not just a figure of speech," Clinton said. "We're actually doing something here.
"I'm getting more concerned with the cause than the show," he chuckled. "I think that means I picked the right cause."
In case you haven't heard, Z104.5 The Edge is following up on the success of the 2008 Homegroan CD and is currently in the midst of the submission process for this year's version. If you're a band or a graphic artist looking for some exposure, this just might be the opportunity you've been seeking.
The Edge is not only looking for 12 great songs for the 2009 edition, but also some killer artwork for the cover. If you think you've got what it takes on either front, then you need to check out the submission details, rules and guidelines at www.edgetulsa.com and get to work.
The deadline for cover designs is 12pm, Wednesday, April 22, and 5pm that day for song submissions. Once all the details have been ironed out and the CDs pressed, The Edge will distribute the CDs for free during Edge remote broadcasts at area Cherokee Casino events this summer. It's a limited run of only 1,000 CDs, though, so local music fans won't want to miss it.
Of course, you'll hear plenty more about it on The Edge, but we'll have more details for you as well.
Spring is finally here and the concert calendar is blossoming like flowers after the rain (or snow). As always, we've got plenty going on around town, but here are a few of the highlights to get you out the door.
If you're hanging out downtown on Thursday night, April 9, you can swing by Flytrap Music Hall to catch Tranny with Society Society and Zero Crossing; hit up Dustin and Jesse's Higher Education at McNellie's or skip over a couple blocks to catch Taddy Porter tearing up Exit 6C. The evening's big show (at least for the nostalgic crowd), however, will be Styx at Osage event Center at the Million Dollar Elm Casino.
Osage stays busy on Friday night as well by hosting Leon Russell's Birthday Bash. Probably the biggest show of the night is Nickelback with Seether and Saving Abel at the BOK Center, but it's not necessarily the best.
April 10 also sees a couple more big shows roll through town as Sara Bareilles and Augustana play TU's Spring Fest with Stars Go Dim opening, and Cain's Ballroom hosts the Bamboozle Road Show with We Thee Kings, Forever The Sickest Kids, The Cab, Never Shout Never and Mercy Mercedes. If you're really an Oklahoma music aficionado, however, you'll stop in at All-Souls Acoustic Café to catch renowned songwriter, Oklahoma native and DFest veteran Kevin Welch play an intimate show at 7:30pm
Saturday night, April 11, is just as busy, even though the shows aren't as high profile. If you're looking for the next generation of rising stars, you can swing by Cain's for the Satellite Battle of the High School Bands with Abeo Cygnus, Lupercus, Keyless Entry, Feedback and The Fiascos. Just down the street, The Concert for Nicaragua will keep The Marquee open late for 123 International with Cody Clinton and the Bishops, Vandevander, Jess Aycock, Pilgrim, Cecada and more. If you're looking for an old friend, however, head to Flytrap Music Hall for Angel/Devil (formerly Gooding) with Space Station opening the show.
The Brady Theater hosts the rest of the week's highlights with Death Cab for Cutie, Cold War Kids and Ra Ra Riot on Sunday, April 12, and the reunited Chicago on Tuesday, April 14.
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