Concerned artists, musicians and local citizens came together Sunday in an effort to provide continuing relief to the victims of the recent tsunami in Asia.
The Safe Harbor Tsunami Relief Concert, held at the Lincoln Cente, was deemed an immediate success in raising funds to be distributed through the Centennial chapter of the American Red Cross.
"The dollars raised today will go directly to the relief effort overseas," said Centennial chapter CEO Ken Williams. "With previous donations added to this benefit, our chapter has now raised over $600,000 for tsunami relief."
In addition to the satisfaction of giving to a worthy cause, audience members were treated to an evening of music, singing and art, all donated by the respective individuals to benefit the concert. CSU Director of Athletic Mark Driscoll, working as the master of ceremonies, introduced the audience to the various musicians occupying the stage. Driscoll also helped to promote the silent auction held throughout the show featuring paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry and photographs produced by both nationally and locally acclaimed artists.
The evening's music featured the Safe Harbor Big Band, composed of local musicians willing to come together for this one night of giving. The band, made up of a 12-piece horn section accompanied by piano, bass, drums and guitar, played with a big-band sound and style that defied their lack of experience together. The band was put together for the sole purpose of performing for the tsunami concert.
The musicians also provided backdrop to the sultry voices of featured singers Carol Frazier and Colleen Crosson.
Also performing during the evening were the jazz renditions of pianist Mark Sloniker. Karen Lauer-Anderson wowed viewers with her remarkable operatic abilities, and the Poudre High School Impalaphonics demonstrated that appreciation for classical sounds have not been lost on youth.
The Fort Collins Tsunami Relief Concert was the brainchild of local musician and financial planner Chuck Landgraf. Landgraf, working as drummer for the Safe Harbor Big Band, was struck by the tsunami's devastation and came up with the idea for a benefit within 48 hours of learning about the disaster.
"We just wanted to encourage as many people as possible to donate what they could to this cause," Landgraf said. "It is important to let people know that help is still needed and that the recovery efforts are going to take many years to come."
Equally important to the night's efforts was the philanthropic methods of the Bohemian Foundation, which pledged to match every dollar made through the ticket sales and silent auction during the event. The Bohemian Foundation's Pharos Fund has provided the Fort Collins area with more than $3,250,000 in funding over the last few years.
This funding has gone to support programs and organizations such as Arts Alive, KRFC radio, the Poudre School District and First Call Service Net.
"This disaster emotionally touched everyone," said Cheryl Zimlich, the Bohemian Foundation's interim executive director. "As the grassroots efforts of the local music community and American Red Cross to help provide disaster relief gained momentum, we were thrilled to support the generosity of the citizenry of Fort Collins through the Tsunami Relief Concert."