By Thomas Gillen
Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Hillwood Recital Hall will host two benefit concerts this fall. The first, a Musicians Without Borders event on Friday, Sept. 23, followed by Concert Across America to End Gun Violence on Saturday, Sept. 25. Musicians from the New York area, including The Circuit and David Bennett Cohen, will be playing at the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, while musicians from all around the world will be playing in Musicians
Those acts in- clude Pugwash from Dublin, Joe Rock and the Allstars from Long Island, Ann and Bones from Berlin, and Milo Saidl from the Czech Republic. WCWP and Word of Mouth Studios will present both concerts.
“The goal of Word of Mouth Studios, and founder and president Tony Traguardo, is to provide libraries, educational institutions, and cultural venues access to a diverse range of high quality performers, programs, and products for reasonable fees,” according to www. wordofmouthstudios. com.
The concert Musicians Without Borders will transpire on Friday, Sept. 23, at7 p.m., and the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence will happen on Sunday Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Both concerts hope to address the
issue of gun violence as part of the dialogue in this presidential election year, according to Adam Schanke, the bass player for the Circuit, performing on Sept. 23.
Schanke spoke about how his band came to be involved in this concert. “I was seriously overwhelmed at the amount of gun violence we saw earlier this summer,” he said. “I reached out to my friend Tony Traguardo, the president and founder of Word of Mouth Studios, and told him I really wanted to do something. I had read about the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence and suggested we organize a local show. Tony and Word of Mouth Productions were able to secure the Hillwood Recital Hall.”
Schanke added, “Tony brought in the Mirage Band as well as David Bennett Cohen. I reached out to my band mates as well as my longtime friend (and fellow Freeport High whose platform is ‘to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.’ We wanted to con- tribute to a group that was proactively addressing the issue of gun violence in America.”
Schanke is also aware that the concert may not have a profound impact on ending gun violence but is happy to address the issue in any way he can.
“I think there are certain artists who can become major [spokespeople] to end gun violence but those artists have a national platform and a large fan base,” Schanke said. “I am proud that my band mates and the other performers are willing to commit their energy to this show. We are doing what we can on our level to contribute to ending gun violence”
Tony Traguardo, a producer of both concerts and the founder and President of Word of Mouth Studios, is
a graduate of C.W. Post. He explained that Musicians Without Borders was booked at the Tilles Center because of his friendship with Dan Cox, the Director of WCWP, also a Post graduate. Traguargo and Cox have known each other since the early ‘80s when they attended college and worked at the radio station together.
With the help of the University and the Tilles Center, which oversees the Hillwood Recital Hall, WCWP and Word of Mouth Studios have produced other shows together.
“Surprisingly, a date was available at the Recital Hall that worked for everyone,” Traguardo said. “You could say that the stars were in alignment! Louis LaRocca has taken the ball and run with this, and his crew and the folks who work with Musicians Without Borders are solely responsible for the great acts that will take the stage at that show.”
Traguardo added, “While a producer never usually wants to do two charity events back to back, the date for the Sept. 25 event was written in stone, because it is set to coincide with the national ‘Concert Across America to End Gun Violence’ concert. This show came about when my dear friend, Adam Schanke of The Circuit, reached out to me to ask if I could help him and his friend Darryl Kendrick of the Sugar and Spice Band, put a local benefit concert together on that day,”
The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence is a benefit concert put on across the United States to raise awareness to the issue of gun violence.
“It was simple to get a few more acts to round things out, including my own duo, Mirage Project, on the bill, since the cause is one that everyone participating in the show strongly supports,” Traguardo said. In fact, David Bennett Cohen has been active in the peace movement since the early 1960s, and he’s delighted to be on the bill. Once again, the Hillwood Recital Hall happened to be available, and since some of the equipment would already be in place from the event on Friday, it would reduce some of the efforts that go into putting a show like this together.”
Musicians have a unique platform to bring issues such as gun violence to prominence. “Whether your band is on the way up and trying to ‘make it,’ you play as a part-time hobby, or you are in the most famous band in the world, performing at a benefit show is a way of using your talent to give something back to your community,” Traguero said. “Since The Concert for the People of Bangladesh, put together by George Harrison in 1971, musical performances have been seen as a potential way to call attention to, and raise money for, an important cause.”
Traguero continued, “Being on stage gives someone, literally and figuratively, a platform from which they can declare, either verbally or through the simple fact that they are on the bill of the event, their support. It’s empowering. And audience members who attend a benefit show, feeling empowered themselves by the music, will often go out and get the word out about the cause and possibly get involved themselves.”
Tickets for Musicians Without Borders can be purchased as www.eventsfy.com, while tickets for the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence can be purchased at www.brown- papertickets.com. General admission for Musicians Without Borders is $35, while tickets for the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence is $10. All proceeds for the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence will go to The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.