The Jersey James Fund charity organization continues to thrive. This comes due to the efforts of its organizer, Bob Makin, and the many local musicians, businesses, venues and other mainstay contributors.
Makin recently received a 2002 Asbury Music Awards nomination as Top Journalist in Support of Live Music for his work with the Courier News.
The fund has awarded about $15,000 in music scholarship to nearly 20 New Jersey children, between the ages of 4 and 16, who are Sept. 11 victims, Makin said.
This after its full-length compact disc, Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares: A Charitable Tribute to the New Jersey Families of September 11 was released and numerous live shows were played.
Artists contributing include Glen Burtnik of Styx, and John Eddie. Rumor has it that even the Boss himself, that’s Bruce Springsteen if you aren’t a nickname person, was perusing a Stone Pony show in
the charity’s benefit.
The fund’s next project is its “All You Need is Love Fest”, eight shows on March 22 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’s “Please Please Me” and the 34th anniversary of John Lennon & Yoko
Ono’s first Bed-In for Peace.
“By the time you read this, we will be out of scholarship funds and only will have a bit of mentorship funds to produce the statewide ‘Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares All You Need Is Love Fest,’” Makin said.
“The ‘Love Fest’ will raise more music scholarship funds through as many as possibly eight Beatles tribute concerts. At least two of those shows will be all-ages and free to New Jersey children ages 15
and under. Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent. The Urban Word Cafe show will include a raffle for a child to win a free harmonica and lesson book, as well as possibly a free lesson on ‘Love
Me Do.’ We hope we will be able to mentor music to children in this way at least two other shows. There will be other cool raffles great Beatles prizes.”
Bands taking part include a Bon Jovi tribute band called Bad Medicine, the Anderson Council, and the Cucumbers. Beatles All-Star jams will be held at most locations.
Mike Grau, who plays with the Dead Pony Cats, will produce a show at the Broadway Central Café in South Amboy. He will play it with the bands Bongo Jones and the Marbles.
Grau has run a charity called the Christmas Dogs of War for the past 14 years.
“(Dogs of War) began with a bunch of strange holiday songs recorded by myself and my music friends that aired on WRSU Rutgers radio in 1987. Then came the live shows [for the American Cancer Society].
These were staged at the Broadway Central Cafe every year.”
Eventually a show was added at the Saint, in Asbury Park, he said.
Grau was approached by Makin to donate a portion of the door take from the Dogs of War to Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares.
“I agreed immediately because of my prior dealings and knowledge of Mr. Makin,” he said. “He's a good guy.”
Jim Testa, a local ‘zine legend and Jersey Beat magazine founder was also enlisted by Makin.
“I am helping to coordinate an all-ages benefit concert at the Hamilton Street Cafe, and I've helped publicize other Jersey Jams events through Jersey Beat and [its] website," Testa said.
Testa is involved in raising charity awareness and fund-raising.
He will produce and host the Hamilton Street Café show which includes performances by the Milwaukees and Billionare Boys Club.
“I think everyone in the area feels an obligation to reach out and help in any way we can in these times, especially when it involves the victims of 9/11,” he said. “I'm very happy that the New Jersey
music community has this outlet to become involved. The arts can't exist in an ivory tower and it's especially gratifying to me that Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares reaches out and helps children with music education.
Everything - from music to citizenship - starts with them.”
For more information on any of these events go to the charity’s web site www.jerseyjamsfund.org.
Chorus and Verse Managing Editor Josh Davidson will be hosting the Jersey Jams Fund event at the Urban Word Café on March 22, 2003. The show features Kathy Phillips & Kim Williams, Gregg Cagno, Spook
Handy and an All-Star Acoustic Beatles Jam, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Urban Word Café, 449 South Broad St., Trenton. All ages. $5, free for ages 15 and under. 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or
guardian. Show will include raffles for Beatles-inspired artwork & free harmonica, lesson book and lesson with Gregg Cagno for a child or teen. Produced by Jack Devaney of Atomic Productions. Call (609)
989-7777. Visit www.urbanwordcafe.com.