Sunday, August 5, 2012

Benefit Concert Next Saturday to Raise Funds for Zoo Flood Damage Restoration

We live in an era of instant everything.  So it comes as no surprise when the floods, earthquakes and tornadoes that do so much damage in various locales become instantly everywhere, transmitting stories of grief and anguish around the world via modern technology. The first thing we see are the images. Then come the stories. 

Those of us here in the Twin Ports all have stories of that June 20 storm that struck us with such surprising force. Six to nine inches of rain fell that night and four inches in one hour. Many of us were online early that morning trying to see how serious this rainfall was. We were shocked by the level of devastation as Facebook friends posted photos of what they were seeing outside their own doorsteps.

Duluth geography contributed to the problems as so much of the city snakes along the beautiful hills of Duluth that hug the lake, bay and St. Louis River. When the rains fell gravity carried it down the hills, washing out roads and wreaking havoc.

One of the most heartbreaking stories of that dark night was the drowning of animals in our newly renovated Duluth Superior Zoo.

John Heino of Centerville
Something that impresses me about communities like this one is that despite the hard times, people rally to support and help one another. I am somewhat amazed at the quantity of benefit concerts and dinners for people enduring medical hardships and other kinds of life setbacks. It's evidence that the Golden Rule is still alive and well, and that community is still important to us.

All this to say there's a benefit concert this coming Saturday to raise money for the Duluth Zoo. The musical lineup includes The Centerville All Stars, Virgil Caine, Don't Panic and other special guests from the Twin Ports music scene. They're hoping to get the word out through as many channels as possible. The theme will be a  celebration of the rockin' party music of the 70's. It's a family event with food and non-alcoholic beverages available at the concession area. They've suggested $5 donation with all proceeds going to flood damage restoration.

A friend of mine told me Mike Olson, a marketing associate for Sysco Foods, is the guy organizing the event and footing the tab for event expenses so that 100% of the donations can go to the zoo. I called to ask his motivations and he said they were two-fold. First, he wanted to bring together current and older musicians who love 70's rock and roll so the original local "stars" could be seen and heard in one place. His major interest, the ultimate purpose of the event, is to raise awareness for the zoos dire financial needs.

This answered my major question when I heard that the admission price for the concert was only $5.00. This did not seem like it could raise that much money. The reality is, even if it was thirty or forty dollars, the day's proceeds would barely make a dent, and the greater need is for awareness of the needs.

"For example," Olson said, "it will take three million dollars to rebuild the polar bear exhibit alone. People are not aware of how much need there is. The seal exhibit, too, needs extensive renovation."

Olson noted that PAC TV will be there this Saturday to record and produce a TV documentary featuring the concert and everything surrounding the zoo restoration needs.

Kyle Inforzato, bass and vocals with Centerville All Stars.
The concert stretches from noon till 8 p.m. this Saturday, August 11 at the Duluth Heights Community Club. For more information visit the Duluth Zoo Flood Damage Benefit page on Facebook, and join.

Photo credits: B&W images courtesy Andrew Perfetti. 

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