A fundraiser that turned into a music fest

  • Cold Harvest Band Contributed photo

  • Windborne Contributed photo—2013 BOSCH IMAGES...

  • 60's Experience Contributed photo—

Published: 1/10/2020 8:52:06 AM
Modified: 1/10/2020 8:51:27 AM

When local musician Paul Interlande, of Montague, was asked to find some bands to play at a local benefit show, he hoped that maybe, just maybe, he could line up one or two. But he discovered that when he asked 10 of the more popular local cover bands in the area to participate, much to his surprise, they all said “yes.” The reason for this is that the benefit is for Robert “Hoppy” Hopkins, of Turners Falls, a longtime supporter of the local music scene.

Hopkins suffered a heart attack last October and had to undergo triple bypass surgery. The good news is that he is doing well but he has been unable to work. His friends wanted to help him out financially.

“He is a big music guy from way back,” said Interlande. “He was a bartender who worked at all the old Turners Falls clubs — places like the Noble Feast and Carnies — and he was always a music supporter. I have been putting on the summer music series at the Turners Falls Rod and Gun club for the past few years. Hoppy was president there and he loves music and was adamant about having live music there.”

As a result of the enthusiastic response from the bands, what was originally planned as a small benefit has evolved into a full-blown music festival. HoppyFest 2020 will take place at St. Kazimierz Society, 197 Avenue A in Turners Falls, Saturday, Jan. 11, beginning at 2 p.m. The festival will feature an incredible lineup of acts that includes Don Jordan, Bruce Korona, DUH Band, Tracy and the Valley Revival, Cold Harvest, The 60’s Experience, Lakeside Drive, Curley Fingers, After Glo and Jimmy Just Quit.

Brenda and Fred Olson, who are friends of Hopkins, are the driving force behind HoppyFest. They turned to Interlande, who has a long history of booking bands in various area clubs, to handle the music end of things.

Once he put the word out, the response was overwhelming. “Musicians are always being asked to play benefits, but I hoped I could snag one or two and I snagged them all,” Interlande said. “The thing is that Hoppy booked and supported these bands over the years and they want to help him out.”

Each band will play about a 30-minute set, and with such a diverse lineup, listeners can expect to hear all types of rock music — everything from the sounds of the 1960s to the contemporary sounds of today.

Since this has turned into such a big event, Interlande, who also works as a sound engineer and runs his own studio (Angry Chair Music), will record the show for a future CD in which proceeds will also benefit Hopkins.

“I will take two or three cuts from each band and release a disc at some point,” he said. “In addition to being part of the benefit, it is also a way of thanking the musicians, who are devoting their time, as they can use this as a demo or something.”

In addition to all the music, there will be raffles, a silent auction and food available at St. Kazimierz Society.

“It should be a good time,” Interlande said. “We have had a lot of positive responses about this and all the bands are psyched to play here. My nephew Ryan Interlande’s band, Cold Harvest Band, is playing. A few years ago we did a benefit for him because he needed a heart transplant. He got the heart done and he’s doing great, so he’s honored to do this. Who knows how it will all go? It could become an annual thing. Maybe we will be helping out someone else next year.”

Admission is $20 per ticket or two for $30. Tickets can be purchased at St. Kazimierz Society or at the Turners Falls Rod and Gun Club. Tickets will be sold at the door if the event has not sold out in advance.

Windborne at Great Falls Coffeehouse

In January of 2017, Windborne, a vocal harmony group, mounted an Indigogo campaign to raise funds for an album the group planned to make that would be a collection of protest songs from the past 400 years. As is common practice for fundraising of this type, they decided to record a video to launch the campaign and help meet their goal of raising $5,000 for the project.

The Brattleboro-based quartet, which features Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon, went to New York and was recorded singing a protest song from the 1840s called “Song of the Lower Classes” outside Trump Tower.

“But soon we know/That the low folk will arise up/The tyrants in their towers of gold/Shall hear the people’s cries,” the group sang in unison. Windborne is known for its tight harmonies, the power and passion in the three singers’ voices. When singing this song, their voices rang especially clear and loud, making the song a rallying cry for the disenfranchised everywhere.

The video went viral, racking up over a million views between Facebook and YouTube. The band surpassed its goal of raising $5,000 and instead earned over $80,000 with donations coming in from every state and 22 different countries around the world. They were able to make an album.

“Song on the Times” was released in December of 2018. This recording features 11 songs from various movements for peoples’ rights in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The songs that were chosen for the album contain lyrics relevant to the issues of today. This recording, which is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated songbook, has won great critical acclaim.

Windborne has spent the past year touring in support of this project and will perform songs from “Song on the Times” and more when the trio takes the stage tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Great Falls Coffeehouse located at the Discovery Center on Avenue A in Turners Falls.

And while the trio’s latest album focuses on American and British folk music, the group’s repertoire expands well beyond that. Since forming as a group, the members of Windborne have sought out masters of traditional singing styles from all over the world to study a variety of vocal music and have incorporated all they have learned in their work.

When Windborne take the stage at the Great Falls coffeehouse, you can expect to hear songs from Corsica, the Republic of Georgia, Bulgaria, Quebec, and Basque country, and will often share stories about the origins of these songs. The band utilizes a minimal accompaniment of banjo and some percussion. Instead, the singers primarily rely on their gorgeous voices singing a cappella harmony. This is a not-to-be-missed kind of a show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. There’s a suggested sliding scale donation of $6 to $15. Admission is free for children.

For more information, please call the Discovery Center at 413-863-3221 or online at greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com.

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