The jazz enthusiasts on board rehearse for the benefit concert. (photo courtesy Joel Albert)
An overdue update on my project to raise money for Puerto Rico hurricane relief. As you may recall, in addition to a GoFundMe page (thanks to daughter and niece), I planned to organize a benefit concert during a jazz cruise through the Caribbean. The GoFundMe so far has attracted contributions of $2,050.
On board the mega-liner we figured out that there was a one-hour window where we could stage the benefit and with the help of the JazzFest At Sea cruise staff, we got the go-ahead to dedicate a performance to hurricane relief.
(I found myself a minor celebrity at the dinner table one night. When I mentioned my plan for the concert at dinner, a tablemate exclaimed, “Oh, I know you, you’re the guy from the Syncopated Times.” A terrific conversation starter. And certification that TST gets around.)
The concert was staged by fellow passengers who had come to jam among themselves when the lounge wasn’t being used for some very high-level professional jazz entertainment (the royalty of jazz and swing). All the jazz cruise passengers were invited, and we put out a tip jar in what we’ll call true busking tradition. The house was full, and the amateur musicians among us played and sang their hearts out. The photo of the bandswomen and men here is from a rehearsal.
Color me gratefully amazed when, later, we counted the tip bucket proceeds – they totaled more than $850.
I’ve bundled the funds from the concert and web page and sent it off to the foundation set up by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called Somebody Help Us. If you care to donate directly you can Google their site.
I’ll keep the GoFundMe page open a while longer in case there are those who didn’t get an opportunity to chip in, yet. It’s gofundme.com/jazzforpuertorico.
Meanwhile, thanks, muchas gracias for all who gave and played and just cheered us on. The latest news from PR is that it’s still a slow but easier climb back to normalcy. Months and years still to go.
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