POSTED ON JUNE 5, 2013:
Give a Little
Stepping up for our neighbors with Tulsa Gives Moore
No matter where you're from in Oklahoma, you've inevitably been affected by the tornadoes of the past couple weeks. For some of us, it may be less pronounced, while others had friends who lost homes and possessions in Broken Arrow last week, or even more markedly so in the storm that hit Moore on Monday, May 20.
Right away, Oklahoma's citizens stepped up to help their brothers and sisters in need, rallying to provide clothing, food, water and other supplies, not to mention showing up to lend a hand in cleanup efforts. If tragedy striking Oklahoma does anything, it certainly galvanizes and renews our state's sense of community.
And when it comes to the music community, Oklahoma musicians are never shy about lending their talents to help a good cause. Right away, Fassler Hall hosted a benefit show with artists from the Horton Records and Okie Tone Records stables, while the OKC/Norman/Edmond contingent stepped up with a couple of benefit shows last weekend. Of course, no one can overlook the televised benefit that Blake Shelton organized, calling on his friends and associates for some big names and major firepower that reportedly took in roughly $6 million in pledges during the broadcast from Chesapeake Center in Oklahoma City on May 29.
During that time, plans have been underway for Tulsa's music community to step up in a bigger way with Tulsa Gives Moore, a benefit concert scheduled for this Friday, June 7, in Brady Field. (You know the location: It's the open field between Brady Theater and Cain's Ballroom that has hosted Edgefest, Brady Block Party and more in the past few years).
While I initially got a call from Edge DJ and former Homegroan host Drew McKenna about the event, once things got rolling, Mary Ellen Slape (of The Hunt Club) and Cody Slane took the reins and helped organize the benefit concert in just under two weeks, securing the location, and putting together a lineup of local bands to make it worth getting out on Friday night to catch some cool tunes and help your fellow Oklahomans in need.
Once the details were worked out, Tulsa Gives Moore shaped up with a roster that includes a variety of bands and in-and-out privileges so you can check in at the local clubs and come back for the bands you want to see.
For those wanting to get involved in the local music scene and help those in need, the benefit concert kicks off at 5pm with Benny's Little Weasel, followed by Absence of Ink and KickTree at 6pm and 7pm, respectively.
The evening is capped off by Tulsa's native sons (okay, the band may be Stillwater-based, but we still claim them as our own) Taddy Porter, who stepped up late in the game to be the night's headline act. Overall, it's a nice cross-section of Tulsa's current pop/rock scene and more than worth stepping out for, especially when you realize tickets are only $5 at the gate.
Everyone involved is donating their time and efforts on this show, so 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Plaza Towers Survivor Fund, which was set up to provide aid for the students that attended Plaza Towers Elementary School (which was destroyed) and their families.
Who’s Up for Some Planting? Johnny Badseed and the Rotten Apples rock NewVo next week. IDL Ballroom, 230 E. 1st St. on June 13.
When learning about the Plaza Towers Survivor Fund, I spoke with Angie Kendall, one of the founders. With roughly 450 students in the elementary school and the surrounding neighborhood almost completely destroyed, many families were left without homes -- and of those, many were renters who had no insurance, so immediate needs that are being addressed are temporary housing, food and the basic necessities.
This is a cause that hits close to home for Kendall, knowing that while seven children were killed in the storm and many others were physically injured, nearly all were affected and traumatized in some way.
"I know of one family where the father had been laid off the week before the storm," Kendall shared. That family not only lost a child in the tornado, but also lost their house to the storm, leaving them traumatized and in need.
Kendall is merely part of a group of people who are spearheading efforts for the Plaza Towers community by not only contributing their money and time, but also making sure needs are being met. Headed up by families within the community, the group is able to verify the location of the families and exactly what their needs are through direct relationships and community connections.
"People were literally asking 'What can we do?', so I set up an online link where people could donate. Once people started giving, I went to the bank to open an account, and we are in the process of finishing our tax-exempt status," Kendall shared. In fact, the fund had already raised $20,000 in private donations by Sunday, June 2.
The primary reason Kendall set up the fund, however, was to make sure all donations went directly to those in need. While she was impressed by outside efforts and those helping spearhead effort to rebuild homes with storm shelters, she found herself disheartened when she found out that some within that organization owned a storm-shelter company.
"I wanted there to be no administration fees and for 100 percent of the donations to go to the families in need," Kendall shared. "Everyone working within our group is doing it voluntarily, and no one within the group benefits from it financially," she emphasized.
With another round of storms hitting the area late last week, much is needed in the Plaza Towers community and Kendall and her group have already started making headway as they look to the future, having already found furniture companies willing to provide furniture at wholesale cost once homes are ready to be refurnished and even finding a car dealership that is willing to negotiate special deals for families that lost their vehicles in the storm.
"Those eligible must have kids in the Plaza Towers School and need the vehicle for a parent to get back and forth to work," Kendall emphasized. "This is meant for those in need, not for an extra vehicle or something frivolous."
Fortunately, being directly plugged into the neighborhood and being part of the community is what is making the Plaza Towers Fund so effective, so you know all proceeds are being used properly. While there are many people in need, Tulsa can do its part to assist this weekend, by showing up for Tulsa Gives Moore. Additional donations can be made by walking into your local Bank of Oklahoma and asking to donate to the Plaza Towers Survivors Fund, or you can email PlazaTowers@yahoo.com to find out how else you can help.
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Memorial Day has passed, June has arrived, and summer is here. Just as the seasonal temps start to rise, the weather is perfect to get out and enjoy some great shows, and we've got all the highlights, so start by checking these out:
Thursday, June 6
The Edge's monthly Homegroan showcase at Vanguard resumes tonight with Movements, For the Wolf, Triple 7 and Zeroed Out, all for a $5 cover. You can also get your dance groove on at Cain's Ballroom with Adventure Club, Flinch, Ontronic and DJ Squirt D or chill out at Hunt Club with Willy Echo.
Friday, June 7
House of Heroes finally returns to Tulsa for a show at Vanguard with Come Wind, Beach Party, Blank Tapes and SocietySociety while Oddfellows play Hunt Club and Cain's hosts Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, Mayday and Trip C for a rap throwdown. Meanwhile, over at 18th and Boston, Mercury Lounge has Ray Johnston Band with Brandon Clark Band opening, and The Shrine hosts "Reggae in 18th" with 77 Jefferson, Suspects and The Rebellion, all for a $5 cover.
And don't forget the night's big benefit show on the Brady Lawn, Tulsa Gives Moore with Benny's Little Weasel, Absence of Ink, Kicktree, We the Ghost, Madewell, Billy Joe Winghead and Taddy Porter -- all for only $5 with all proceeds going to the Plaza Towers Survivors Fund.
Saturday, June 8
Blue Edmondson debuts at Vanguard while Steve Pryor rocks the Hunt Club and Whirligig plays The Colony. The corner with the big party, however, is 18th & Boston, as Larkin tears it up at Mercury Lounge and Shrine hosts The Bowie Experience: A Space Oddity dance party with DJ Robbo.
Sunday, June 9
Guthrie Green continues its Sunday concert series with a Horton Records show featuring Monophonics, Paul Benjaman Band and Pilgrim.
Monday June 10
Cain's Ballroom delivers the metal with Lamb of God, Decapitated and Aciients.
Wednesday, June 12
Vanguard wraps up the week with a great singer/songwriter pairing, hosting David Ramirez with special guest Jay Nash and The Colony hosts the weekly Tom Skinner Science Project.
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