What's Happening

Great time for a great cause


The Ben Daniels Band, shown above, will highlight the end of the 2018-19 Irish Hills Roots and String Music series. Proceeds from the event go to fund the Brooklyn Food Pantry.

By Matt Schepeler

What do you call an event that brings exceptional musical talent to the Irish Hills, while raising thousands of dollars for the Brooklyn Food Pantry? The Irish Hills Roots and String Music Series.

The music series, which brings a quality band to Jerry’s Pub once a month from autumn through spring, was kick-started by resident Rick Shore, shown in photo, around four years ago. Since then, he has brought in dozens of acts and raised about $12,500 for the pantry.

The formula is pretty simple. Shore notes that when he explains to the bands that the events raise money for the local food pantry, most are willing to come in for between $500 to $700. As a rule, Shore has been able to clear around $500 to $600 from each show, which goes directly to the pantry, of which he is a director.

“The numbers are working out,” said Shore.

“I have been getting a lot of semi-local bands, and what I mean by semi-local is in the southern part of Michigan,” said Shore, “but I wanted to end this season with a bang.”

To do that, he rolled the dice and went away from his proven formula. Shore obtained the Ben Daniels Band, an exceptionally talented group with a sound that spans Americana, blues, jazz and rock. Daniels is the son of actor and musician Jeff Daniels. An interview of Ben Daniels from last June, as well as a taste of the band’s music, can be seen here.

However, quality comes with a price. The cost of bringing the Ben Daniels Band to the Irish Hills is higher than the other acts Shore has hired, so he is turning it into a ticketed event, though, he notes, people will still be able to get in at the door.

He is hoping that this turns into a major fundraiser for the pantry, and explains why:

“We all have an obligation to take care of each other. All we have is each other. In the community we owe it to each other to take care of one another. If there are people in our community that are hungry, and there are people in our community with extra food, or with extra funds that can buy some food, that is a beautiful marriage.”

Shore said that people don’t realize how many hungry people are living here. “The kids are the one who suffer,” said Shore, adding that a recent “backpack program” the pantry supports actually provided backpacks full of food that specific students can take home over the weekend to help their struggling families.

“There are a million reasons people might be struggling,” said Shore. “But the ‘why’ doesn’t matter. Helping them out does. It is the kids and the elderly that are most vulnerable, that are at the edges.

“I find it sad that kids are going to school hungry, or going to bed hungry. That is why we do what we do.”

Shore hopes the Ben Daniels Band night, which will be held April 18, is a big success, and he is working hard to get the word out through Facebook (see their page at The Irish Hills Roots and Strings Music Series), posters he has put up around the community and brochures he has handed out.

But all work and no play makes for a dull life. The real beauty of Shore’s vision is that the events are, for lack of a better word, fun. Not only is the talent exceptional and the cause worthy, but Shore, who loves a good time, loves music.

“We want people to come and listen to the music, and we have gotten a pretty good following,” said Shore.

A good start would be selling out the Ben Daniels Band show April 18. Tickets are $20, and the admission will include raffle tickets for a variety of items that have been donated.

To learn more, obtain tickets or perhaps donate items for the raffle, contact Shore through the Facebook page or call 206-6785.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *