Disaster Relief Started w/ $15K

The Mockingbird Foundation has announced a series of efforts to support disaster victims and help restore music education programs affected by hurricanes in the last eighteen months. The efforts include at least four different components, and constitute nearly $15,000 in contributions, including support for damaged music programs, adversely affected musicians, and hungry refugees, and includes direct financial contributions, financial support for direct aid, and indirect support through the LivePhish program.

The major thrust is in $6,000 from the Foundation’s Emergency Grants Fund, which provides nominal donations to music education programs affected by disasters. These contributions are not large enough to resolve the problems they target*, but aim to help bring attention to their recipients’ unique needs and to remind potential donors about the importance of music and education in the lives of underage disaster victims. Grants of $500 each will be issued to twelve (12) Florida beneficiaries affected by hurricanes Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, and Charlie in 2004: Gifford Middle School in Indian River; the Cultural Arts Center in Volusia; Hardee County Schools; The Guatemalan Maya Center Escuelita and the African American Art & Music Center in Palm Beach County; Pinewood Elementary School, Stuart Middle School, and South Fork High School Band in Martin County; and Punta Gorda Middle School, Port Charlotte Middle School, Port Charlotte High, and the Charlotte Local Education Foundation in Charlotte County. (The Mockingbird Foundation is actively seeking other music education programs adversely affected by those four hurricanes, particularly in Escambia, Navarre, Pensacola, Melbourne, and/or Polk County, FL, as well as music education programs affected by hurricane Katrina last month in Louisianna, Mississippi, and/or Alabama.)

The Foundation has also extended support to victims of Katrina directly, through a $5,000 grant to Conscious Alliance to support food acquisition and distribition. The Conscious Alliance organizes food drives nationally at concerts, music festivals, and sporting events to benefit local food pantries and impoverished Indian Reservations across the western United States. Conscious Alliance is dedicating their current efforts to providing relief to victims of Katrina, having delivered over 17,500 lbs of food to the Astrodome evacuees via the Houston Food Bank as well as food to the evacuees stranded in various hotels in the Houston area. The Foundation encourages fans to support Conscious Alliance, as well as similar groups such as Panic Fans For Food, who collected and donated 11,000 lbs of food for disaster relief and over $3,000.00 from fans on Fall Tour and at non show food drives held throughout the country.

The Foundation also announced $3,000 to several groups who are working to meet specific needs of musicians affected by Katrina, through $500 donations to Backbeat Fund, Katrina’s Piano Fund, Jazz Foundation, Preservation Hall’s New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, Tianna Hall’s NOAH Leans program (administered by the Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston), and New Orlean’s Musicians’ Clinic (founded by Page’s dad Dr. Jack McConnell). The Foundation recommends contributing to any of these groups, as well as supporting groups such as the National Education Association’s disaster relief to New Orleans.

The Foundation also is participating in New Orleans Relief, a release of Phish’s 4/26/96 performance at the 27th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (“Jazzfest”), including guest appearances by Michael Ray, Colonel Bruce Hampton, and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. A portion of the proceeds from all LivePhish releases is donated to the Mockingbird Foundation. However, the Foundation has elected to donate back its proceeds from this release in support of the Tipitina’s Foundation drive to support musicians affected by Katrina, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s Raisin’ The Roof program that builds affordable housing for New Orleans musicians, and 2nd Line Parades.

(The 4/26/96 show took place just weeks before the Mockingbird Foundation was first conceived, and less than a year before the Foundation was incorporated. The mid-set 2001 was, at the time, a revelation in terms of set placement. The “YEM” vocal jam led into an a cappella introduction to “Wolfman’s Brother,” an early attempt to do something out of the ordinary with that song. And of course the general historical importance of Phish’s one and only appearance at Jazzfest, though in the Phish world that’s trumped by the general historical importance of Phish getting banned from a venue because of the perceived negative impacts of its unwieldy fanbase upon a host community. Red Rocks would follow in two months.)

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The Mockingbird Foundation is the leading provider of historical information about the band Phish and its music. Since its inception in 1996, the Foundation has been operated entirely by volunteer fans of the band, without any salaries or paid staff. It fundraises for music education for children by celebrating the music of Phish through books, innovative recordings, creative donation premiums, and special events for the Phish fan community. Funds are distributed through a two-tiered application process that is one of the most competitive in the country and that has so far resulted in over 120 grants, in 33 states, totaling nearly $420,000.

The second edition of The Phish Companion (the Foundation’s 928-page authoritative encyclopedia) is available from major book outlets nationwide. Its double-disc tribute album Sharin’ in the Groove is available in CD format through Amazon, CDBaby.com, and Homegrown Music Network, as well as in digital format from nugs.net/livedownloads.com, iTunes, MSN Music, Rhapsody, Napster, BuyMusic, MusicMatch, Sony Connect, MusicIsHere, Liquid Digital Media, PassAlong, MusicNet, Puretracks, MusicNow, and LoudEye! For more information about Mockingbird, or to make a donation, please visit www.mbird.org.

Phish was a rock band that started in 1983 and performed its last show on August 15, 2004. For more information about Phish, please visit http://www.phish.com.

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