News Column

Always a holiday for Godfrey musician's cause

July 11, 2013


July 11--GRAFTON -- An Alton group of musicians and artists is teaming up with a St. Louis-based organization for a concert to raise funds and bring musical instruments to the Alton Catholic Children's Home.

The "Something Bigger Than Yourself Xmas in July" music event starts about sunset Saturday at The Loading Dock in Grafton. Organizer and Sun Studio recording artist Jay Brook Lipe of Godfrey, who started doing these shows for this cause five years ago, staged the show last December; the show raised funds for youngsters at Alton Catholic Children's Home to enjoy a bountiful Christmas. Thus, Lipe's first summer music charity event this weekend is in keeping with the theme from December. Saturday's event is free and open to the public.

This time, Lipe partnered with Play It Forward St. Louis' Samantha Fisher; Fisher founded the organization that helps get musical instruments into children's hands, especially those whose families cannot afford to buy instruments.Typically, Fisher through her organization donates instruments to school districts lacking funds for such items, but she agreed through Lipe to donate to Alton Catholic Children's Home. Fisher attended Belleville East High School and works as a full-time bartender at St. Louis' Broadway Oyster Bar; last September, Fox 2 News awarded Fisher its Pay It Forward award of $500 for her charitable giving.

Property Professionals of Illinois Midwest Division in Godfrey and Halpin Music in Alton are sponsoring the event. A private source donated $300 last week, and another private source donated $200 Monday.

"So, if anyone has an old guitar, tambourine, bass, flute or any of the sort lying around, we will make sure it gets to the right people to make the biggest impact," Lipe said.

"Something Bigger Than Yourself" first occurred five years ago, with Lipe bringing numerous acts over the years in support of this cause. Last year, at Christmastime, the concert occurred in Alton at Spirits Lounge with Lipe's band, Jay Brook Lipe and the Terrible 2s, playing alongside Alton's own Donnie Sandidge, the frontman for formerly chart-topping The Undecided. Sandidge performed that night in his band Nudnik, doing the English punk band Sex Pistols' only studio album, "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols," released in 1977, named one of the 100 greatest albums of all time by Time magazine in 2006.

But this time, Lipe's lineup will jam an acoustic upbeat groove, cool summer night sets, featuring Berklee College of Music graduate Patrick Read, of St. Louis, Joshua Grassle of regional band Elbow Through Hammer, Eric Hensley of Alton band Autumn Clock, and Lipe's own solo act featuring special guest Steven Jackson, of Alton, formerly of Lipe's band Ancient Chinese Secret, in which he played guitar.

Lipe recently returned from touring as a solo artist opening act for Black Flag, the groundbreaking U.S. punk band, at sold-out shows in Chicago and Detroit; currently, Black Flag is on the second half of its world tour, heading to their home state of California. Throughout the night, psychedelic hula hoop performance artists with Spiral Flow will provide a backdrop for the stage, as well as their own act.

"It's going to be a great night of live, independent music from some of the metro area's finest musicians right off the Mighty Mississippi River as your background," Lipe said.

Lipe and friends also intend to raise enough money so that every child who lives at Alton Catholic Children's Home can spend a day at Raging Rivers Waterpark in Grafton, complete with a picnic and all the fixings. Last year, Lipe took the children to Golden Corral for a holiday feast after the December fund-raiser show and purchased numerous items of musical and sports equipment for the facility.

"Why wait to December to give?" Lipe asked. "There are always people in this world less fortunate than ourselves, and it feels good to give back to the community."

For those who cannot make Saturday's event, they still can donate; all proceeds raised will benefit the Alton Catholic Children's Home. People can drop off checks at Property Professionals of Illinois Midwest Division at 5411 Godfrey Road anytime over the next few weeks.


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