Tuesday's Crosstown Charity Jam sports some impressive numbers: 50 local performers and bands appearing at nine area clubs raising funds to support 15 local charities and nonprofit organizations.
The Jam, a Washington Area Music Association project, started out with a much smaller goal: "We decided quite a while ago that we were going to do several benefits a year and this was going to be one benefit at one club," explains WAMA board member Mike Schreibman. That was back in January, but when WAMA started calling clubs and bands, "there was so much interest that it just grew and grew." The gigs will raise people's awareness of Washington music, even as they raise funds for worthy causes, Schreibman says.
The participating clubs are Babe's, the Bayou, the Birchmere, Blues Alley, Chapter III, Chelsea's, Kilimanjaro, the 9:30 club and the Roxy. The talent roster is a good cross section of the rock, reggae, funk, folk, bluegrass and jazz communities, including many of Washington's established names and some just starting to make names for themselves.
All the clubs and bands are donating their services, and money raised at each club will go to specific charities or nonprofit organizations. For instance, funds raised at the Birchmere will go to WETA-FM and WAMU-FM, public radio stations that have long folk and bluegrass music, with Blues Alley monies going to WPFW-FM, as well as the Blues Alley Foundation and My Sister's Place. Chelsea's, which will feature salsa bands, will give its money to the Council of Hispanic Communities and Agencies, and Kilimanjaro's will support the Council of Caribbean Organizations and the Third World International Communications Foundation. Babe's will contribute to the Children's Defense Fund.
In the spirit of corporate sponsorship and involvement, the Olde Heurich Brewing Co. has paid for all the Jam's posters and fliers. The Georgetown-based Heurich Beer is being reintroduced to the market after almost three decades; it will be showcased along with the music at the participating clubs on Tuesday.
Washington is a city of fund-raising events, but this week seems to have generated an unusual amount of activity in relation to local music. On Thursday, McCoy Tyner and Shirley Horn will kick off the second Capital City Jazz Festival at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts with a fundraiser for the school and for the Capital City Jazz Festival's Youth Jazz Day. On Friday the program will include a symposium on "Jazz and Youth: Will the Beat Go On?," jazz films, workshops and master classes, and a young people's afternoon concert. For more information on these events, call 333-6699.
On Saturday, Jennifer Holliday, now a Washington resident, will headline a combination benefit and season kickoff concert at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre. Carter Barron, which has the best prices in town (usually $6), is operated by the National Park Service, which means a combination of public service and tight budgets. The Saturday concert, with $25 tickets, will benefit the summer programming, which continues most Saturdays and Sundays through August.
The Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW) will hold its fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest awards ceremony in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel (22nd and M streets NW) Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Winners in eight categories will be announced and some of the winning songs will be performed as well. More than 1,100 songs were entered in the contest.
The Gift of Music
Radio and Records magazine recently did an update on sales and revenues generated by some of the better known charity records (as opposed to charity events). The granddaddy of them all, Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas," sold 8.3 million copies (including 5.6 million in England and 2.5 million here and in Canada) and raised $6.5 million for the Band Aid Trust. Its most notable offspring, USA for Africa's "We Are the World" single, sold 7.7 million copies (the album did 5.7 million) and raised $32.5 million for African famine relief.
The Latin superstar single, Hermanos' "Cantara, Cantares," has sold more than 400,000 copies (there's no accounting of the funds available yet). The Mick Jagger-David Bowie duet of "Dancing in the Street," recorded for Live Aid, has sold 1.6 million in the United States alone. Artists United Against Apartheid's "Sun City" has worldwide sales of 850,000 for the single and almost 600,000 for the album ($50,000 has been paid to the Africa Fund, with more expected after accounting).
Dionne and Friends' "That's What Friends Are For" has sold 1.7 million worldwide for the single, 1.1 million for the album, and so far earned $500,000 for the American Federation for AIDS Research. The King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew's "King Holiday" has sold 100,000 copies, but accounting is not completed. The most recent additions to the philanthropic library, "Hands Across America," Jersey Artists for Mankind's "We Got the Love" and Hear 'n' Aid's "Stars," are all too recent for statistics.