kim’s kitchen

Make these musical instrument cake toppers

Posted 11/21/23

I’m pretty sure that everyone in the world loves music in some way, shape or form. I know I do.

Early on in my life, I wanted to play the drums. But my father, being of a certain age from …

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kim’s kitchen

Make these musical instrument cake toppers


I’m pretty sure that everyone in the world loves music in some way, shape or form. I know I do.

Early on in my life, I wanted to play the drums. But my father, being of a certain age from an earlier generation, forbade that.

“Girls don’t play drums,” he decreed.

I guess he’d never heard of Karen Carpenter. As for me, I ended up on the glockenspiel instead, marching in parades for my dad’s volunteer fire company.

As a kid, I also had a desire to sing. But my highly judgmental siblings squashed that idea early on as well. It’s only in recent years that I’ve learned that I can actually carry a tune.

That revelation came about when my husband Fleck formed a band called The Misfit Toys a few years ago. We play classic rock covers, and he added me to the lineup as a percussionist. Soon after, he asked if I’d sing some backgrounds as well.

“Are you just asking me because we’re married and you feel obligated?” I wanted to know.

“No,” he replied. “I have a band and I want to earn money. If I have you sing and you’re terrible, we’re not going to get jobs. Trust me—you can actually sing.”

He suggested that I build my confidence by performing at open mic nights.

Hey, never think you’re too old to pursue your dreams.

One of the bigger open mics in our area takes place at Dutch’s Tavern in Rock Hill, NY. In those pre-COVID days, it used to happen every Monday night. (Now that it has resumed, it happens the first Monday of every month.) The place gets so packed that reservations are required.

It was at Dutch’s that I first entered the world of singing. It was also at Dutch’s that we met Barry Adelman.

A former retailer of name-brand clothing and footwear, Barry is one of the regular performers at Dutch’s open mic. But he’s a little different in that he performs his own songs the vast majority of the time.

He’s also one of the spearheads behind the charitable organization Music for Humanity.

It all started in 2005. Barry heard a whisper behind him: “Music for Humanity.”

He turned around, but there was no one there.

Popping the phrase into a search engine, he discovered that someone named Kurt Irmiter had already reserved the domain on the web, but there was no actual website. Barry got in touch with Kurt, and discovered that they had the same vision: they each wanted to use music to benefit humanity.

“The idea was to tap the power of the listener enjoying music and the musicians creating and performing music, to benefit and improve the world,” Barry says.

“In other words,” he goes on, “music unites people despite our political, religious, ethnic and financial differences.”

With this mission in mind, Kurt and Barry put up a website——and began fundraising. They threw a free performance night once a month. Funds were also raised through concerts and tax-deductible donations. The donations they received were turned into music scholarships.

“The scholarships go to help young aspiring music majors who need financial help to continue their formal education,” Barry explains. “They can be studying at any accredited college or university in the United States.”

Music for Humanity wants to help young musicians become Music Ambassadors and bring people together via the power of music.

“More music means more connections, and more connections means a better world for all of us,” is Barry’s mantra.

The nonprofit organization has expanded. There is an annual Music Teacher Appreciation Award now in the amount of $1,000, which is granted randomly to part- or full-time faculty members teaching music at an accredited educational institution, from grammar school through college. There are also raffles and songwriting contests. (You can access everything at

The results have been impressive. This past July, Music for Humanity awarded five scholarships totaling $16,000. 

Since its inception, the charity has awarded 66 scholarships amounting to a whopping $167,000 grand total.

Music for Humanity has also started donating new instruments annually to local school districts. To date, they have purchased instruments for the Middletown, Beacon and Central Valley school districts, totaling almost $10,000 in new instruments. 

Coming up on Sunday, December 3, Music for Humanity is presenting a major fundraising event at City Winery Hudson Valley, 23 Factory St. in Montgomery, NY.   Titled “Music Connects Us,” it begins at 2 p.m. and features both Slam Allen and Reggie Harris. (Get tickets at

“Music builds the invisible roads and bridges to connect our hearts and our souls,” Barry notes.

And in my growing experience as a musician, I can certainly tell you that he’s right.

A few days before this column was written, our band played at the Back Road Brewing Company in Milford, PA. There were more than one hundred people in attendance.

And I can’t tell you how many of them came up to the bandstand to chat with us on breaks and after the show.

They complimented our playing. 

They shared personal experiences regarding the songs we performed. 

A lot of them were musicians themselves, so cards and cell phone numbers were exchanged. 

Some were gearheads and were interested in our PA, amps and other equipment. 

Some others wanted to book us for their businesses or private parties. 

We were strangers to all of them when we walked through that door before the downbeat. But we made a lot of friends after. 

That’s all thanks to music. So I get what Barry means. 

Of course, Barry will tell you that the work is far from done. Funds will always need to be raised, and that requires sacrifices from people who care. Volunteers are always welcome, as are donations. Shoot an email to for more information. (And don’t forget “Music Connects Us” at City Winery Hudson Valley on December 3.) 

You’ll be glad you did. The cause is definitely worthy. 

That’s why this month’s project involves making these musical instrument cake toppers. After all, who wouldn’t want a cool guitar or set of drumsticks to offset a party confection and/or a personal birthday cake? 

As always, my way is a way, not the way. Feel free to experiment—let your creativity take over once you’ve gotten the basics from me.

And once you’re done, be sure to pay a visit to As Barry notes on the website, “In these divisive times, we need those connections more than ever.”

Watch a step-by-step tutorial here.

Embed: Make these musical instrument cake toppers

Kim M. Simons is an artist, food artist and cake artist. A frequent competitor on Food Network shows, she was an integral part of the winning team on both “Cake Wars: Star Wars” (2014) and “Holiday Wars” (2019). When not hosting Sip & Paint classes at local venues or painting another Sullivan County Dove Trail monument, she can be heard singing Ozzy Osbourne tunes and bashing a tambourine with The Misfit Toys. Visit Kim at

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