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'If music be the food of love..."

February 10, 2011

Rock on! Hard to know for sure, but I would like to think that Shakespeare would approve of me reinterpreting his (“Twelfth Night”) sentiment, considering the circumstances.

Once again, I am overwhelmed by community outreach here in the Catskills. Now in its third year, “The Great Sullivan County Food Raiser” has grown exponentially. Spearheaded by Stacy Cohen, proprietor of the Dancing Cat Saloon (845/583-3141) in Bethel, NY, last week’s food raiser was (“Measure for Measure”) a smashing success.

With more than 30 musical acts, playing simultaneously in four venues, the event drew folks from every corner of the region (in spite of inclement weather) out to dance, sing and play their way into the hearts of those in need.

The press release read, in part: “The music is free, but if you can afford $5, that is what it takes to feed one person, $10 feeds two and $30 feeds a family of six!” Created in conjunction with Community Unity of Sullivan County, the event not only raises much-needed funds, but social consciousness as well.

Volunteer-driven Community Unity (recovery-center.com) is “committed to making a difference in Sullivan County, NY—raising awareness about those issues which affect the quality of life in Sullivan County. Through fund raising events and collaborative efforts, along with enthusiastic volunteers and local business support, we are able to continue to make a difference.”

I found myself at the Dancing Cat the night before (to check out the debut of rockin’ new band Yasgur) and sat with Cohen to discuss the upcoming event.

Exuberant and excited, Cohen informed me that even prior to the weekend, folks were digging into their pockets to support the cause. “We’ve raised money already,” she exclaimed, “and we haven’t even begun.”

Impassioned and committed, Cohen managed to get me excited in advance. I was not alone with my concern about the “Winters Tale” weather report and in response, the Cat announced on their website (dancingcatsaloon.com) that the music would play on into the next day, in case of stranded would-be participants.

Along with the saloon and adjacent Catskill Distilling Company, musicians tuned up at Dutch’s Tavern in Rock Hill (845/794-8950), and Mr. Willy’s in Monticello (845/794-0888).