Instrument Drive

December 19, 2007
The Spirit
spirit-logo (35K)

The Fire and Intercultural Family Services Music and Mentorship Program’s Fifth Instrument Drive. Thurs., Dec. 20, 7pm. Free admission with instrument donation; $7 without. With Super Humble Country Band, Spinning Leaves, Great Unknown, Campbell Apartment. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave. 267.671.9298. www.iourecords.com/thefire/

Joshua Valocchi

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” While scholars’ opinions of Freidrich Nietzsche’s tenets are as wide-ranging as their interpretations of them, it’s pretty tough to misconstrue or argue against this one.

Isn’t it a bit strange, then, that a whopping 88 public schools in Philadelphia offer no music education at all, while many others have severely curtailed their curricula?

In a collaborative cross-city effort to bring music back to the children, West Philadelphia’s Intercultural Family Services Music and Mentorship program teams up with the folks at the Fire to present an instrument drive and concert.

Thursday’s event – which features a cocktail reception along with a performance by several of the very students who benefit from the program – is the fifth of its kind and has thus far met with great success thanks to strong community support.

Attendees are offered free admission to the show in exchange for a donation of a new or used musical instrument. Although it’s hard to believe that the majority of local households don’t have a long-forgotten guitar or dusty alto saxophone lurking somewhere in an attic loft or basement alcove, a seven dollar cover also guarantees a pass at the door, in lieu of a musicmaker. All proceeds from the door go directly to the Music and Mentorship programs – along with the instruments, of course.

On top of contributing to a worthy cause, audience members can also extract more than a modicum of pleasure from the knowledge that they’ll be serenaded by some of the city’s best up-and-coming music groups such as Spinning Leaves, Citizens Band Radio and the Great Unknown.

The biggest musical draw of the night, however, is the Super Humble Country Band (SHCB). Consisting of anywhere from eight to 18 musicians on any given night, the SHCB is comprised of members of several well-known Philly acts including Hezekiah Jones, Hoots & Hellmouth, papertrees and Andrew Lipke.

Playing almost strictly classic country covers, SHBC projects a love for all things Philadelphia as well as a deep respect for musical heritage. The instrument benefit marks the second-to-last Thursday night SHBC performance in the band’s December residency at the Fire. Don’t miss this one. Do it for the kids. Failing that, get selfish for once during the holiday season and just do it for yourself.

Although Neitzsche may have expertly encapsulated the horror of a musicless life, Harlan Howard conversely nailed down the beauty of one of its genres when he quipped, “country music is three chords and the truth.”

It’s time to testify.

Photos: Michelle Holshue

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