If history has told us anything, is that when a crisis arises humans often come together for the greater good. They unite for a cause, to lift each other up and to maintain something so it won’t be taken away. On June 17, this sentiment manifested itself when a bunch of local musicians got together at Pump House Music Works on 1464 Kingstown Road in Wakefield to perform some music in order to raise money for the venue and guitar workshop. It’s well known that COVID-19 has put live music on hold, which has made music venues all over the world vulnerable to permanent closure. In order to make sure the Pump House is still operating as usual after the pandemic subsides, a digital concert was curated, filmed and uploaded to YouTube to help raise money through the venue’s GoFundMe page.
The online fundraiser was originally created by Dan Collins, who is the President of Pump House Music Works and the owner and operator of Shady Lea Guitars which is based in the same building. Shortly after the GoFundMe was made, past performers of the venue reached out to Dan to see how they could help boost donations.
“The idea came from the musicians wanting to come together in support of the venue,” He says about the concert. “I was thinking of something similar but Dan Moretti and all of the others organized everything. I’m so grateful to have such a tight knit local music community.”
Along with Moretti on saxophone and involved in the curation, singer-songwriter Matt Fraza, guitarist David Furlong, drummer John Brough, classical guitarist Victor Main, singer-songwriter John Schurman, latin jazz guitarist Dennis Costa, bassist Marty Ballou, drummer Marty Richards, guitarist Steve DeConti, bouzouki player Jon Campbell, guitarist Brendan Bjorness-Murano, vocalist Julie Zito, vocalist Tish Adams and guitarists Gino Rosati and Joe Potenza also performed. It was a complete team effort that shows the beauty of musical talents coming together for a greater purpose.
“Originally, I wanted to get together all the people I knew representing all the different styles of music that have been played at the Pump House focusing on the local folks from the community,” Moretti talks about his involvement. “I approached Dan Collins and we had a zoom meeting to discuss the possibilities. We came up with the idea of recording performances at the Pump House on video and audio and creating a concert from those recordings. Although it was somewhat time consuming and required a team effort, I think everything came out great and really represented a feeling for the support we all wanted to get for the Pump House. We’re hoping to keep pushing out for the next week or two with our individual recorded performances and some kind of normalcy in the fall.”
Along with performing with Julie Zito as the acoustic folk duo Owleye, Brendan Bjorness-Murano handled the sound engineering and audio mixing due to his position as the head sound guy at Pump House Music Works. He’s very happy with how everything came out and he loved being a part of it.
“I’ve worked at the Pump House as their lead audio engineer for the past few years and I’ve never worked or played at a venue before that was as committed as this is to providing an exceptional listening experience for an extremely diverse lineup of genres”, Bjorness-Murano mentions about the establishment. “Jazz, classical, folk, funk, indie rock, blues, you name it. Also, we provide music lessons on a number of instruments as well as audio production. Dan Collins runs his luthier school, Shady Lea Guitars, during the day out of the venue. Knowing how important our venue is to our community, we needed to do something to save the venue once we realized that this summer wasn’t going to be a busy one with the current pandemic.”
“We set up a day, along with the help of David Furlong and Victor Main and Dan Moretti videotaping, I engineered the seven hour session and had the entire thing mixed within three days”, He adds. “We felt very happy with all of the takes and turnaround time. This was one of those recording experiences where the phrase ‘Murphy’s Law’ never came into play. I feel proud to have also contributed a song to the concert, ‘Leaving Soon’ with Julie in our duo Owleye.”
The GoFundMe page originally set a fundraising goal of $10,000 and as of press time that goal has been reached with over $13,000 being donated. They’re still accepting funds so if you want to donate log on to https://www.gofundme.com/f/pump-house-music-works-needs-your-help to contribute. To check out the concert, search for the Pump House Music Works YouTube channel and enjoy. It’s another example of how awesome things can happen when people come together for something bigger than themselves.