A singular focus isn’t bad when it comes to charity, but a two-birds-one-stone mentality led the Capital Area Blues Society to expand the reach of its annual Thanksgiving fundraiser. A few years ago, the group added a food collection to Breaking Bread with the Blues, the society’s annual fundraising event, with the non-perishable donations going to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
“It was a good thing to do,” explained Steve “Frog” Forgey, a member of the Blues Society and frontman of local blues band Frog & the Beeftones. “There are people out there who need help. There’s nothing wrong with helping.”
Admission for Sunday’s fundraiser, hosted by the Green Door Blues Bar & Grill in Lansing, is $10 and a donation of one non-perishable food item. Attendees are encouraged to donate more food items if they can. Children under 16 can get in for just a food donation, but they must be accompanied by an adult.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to see community involvement,” said Denise Lynch, Capital Area Blues Society president. “And it involves them in blues at a young age. We don’t really have a blues radio station or a blues studies program. You have Jazz Studies at MSU; you don’t really have that with blues.”
The afternoon show features a slate of local blues talent, including crowd favorites like Frog & the Beeftones and harmonica-focused act Calling Dr. Howard. The lineup also includes Those Delta Rhythm Kings, a local blues staple for nearly three decades. The band took a break earlier this year but is reuniting for the fundraiser.
“I was thrilled when Those Delta Rhythm Kings said they would play, since they’ve been on a bit of a hiatus,” said Forgey, who coordinates the acts for the event.
This year also includes a number of special guests who will join the bands on stage, including singer Twyla Birdsong. The event is emceed by LCC Radio host Daedalian Lowry.
And the afternoon features more than just music. This year, Larry Grudt, a Capital Area Blues Society board member and owner of Lansing Mall art gallery Keys to Creativity, pulled in local visual artists for this year’s event. Airbrush painter Wendy Dalton will create a blues-themed piece of art during the show that will be raffled off. Local illustrator and caricaturist Dennis Preston offers a large, original work that attendees can help color, and he’ll also be showing off his recently released coloring book.
“Coloring is so big with adults now,” Lynch said.
According to the organizers, the event has seen an increase in donations each year, and the performers are eager to come back year after year to support the Blues Society and the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
“They are very good hearted,” Lynch said. “That’s one thing about the local music community that I really admire. The local musicians are so generous with their time when it comes to good causes and fundraisers in the community.”
Breaking Bread with the Blues
3-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20
$10 and one nonperishable food item/children under 16 FREE with donation of nonperishable food item
Green Door Blues Bar & Grill 2005 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
(517) 482-6376, capitalareablues.org