Home Arts-Entertainment Things to do BEACH JAM TO BENEFIT RED CROSS EFFORTS



Sept. 24, 2001 – A family fun day that's also a fund-raiser for American Red Cross relief efforts under way in New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as for the agency's local chapter, is set for Sunday on the beach at the Bolongo Bay Beach Club.
From noon to sunset by Iggies Beach Bar and Grill, there will be live music and food, drinks and commemorative T-shirts for sale. There'll also be activities for kids and a raffle of prizes "already up to $5,000 in value and growing" that includes a stay at the Divi Carina Bay Resort on St. Croix, according to Bryan Hollenbaugh, one of the event organizers.
All of the talent is volunteer, all of the food and drink is being donated, and so are all of the raffle prizes, Hollenbaugh said. And all of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross — "90 percent for terrorist disaster relief, and 10 percent for our local Red Cross chapter, to keep them going as well," he said.
The event is being called — what else? — United Ah We. "We want to provide an outlet where people of our community can support a great cause while being able to reflect on what has happened as well as how we're going to move forward," the other organizer, Paul Doumeng, said. Admission is free.
Doumeng, who manages Bolongo Bay, said he and Hollenbaugh, who is general manager of WIVI-FM/Pirate Radio (96.1 FM), came up with the idea to raise funds for the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families. Doumeng said he's put benefits together before, but this one is different: "Nobody likes to call somebody and solicit funds or product," he said, "but this time it's been easy — because it's for a benefit that everybody understands."
The music will probably start around 1 p.m. "We'll be starting with jazz, float through acoustic, then move into reggae, calypso and rock," Hollenbaugh said. Louis Taylor and Friends and the Sax Cymbals will be serving up the jazz. Cymbals leader Rusty Vellek said the two groups will join forces after separate sets, and other "musicians are invited to bring instruments and voices and join the jam." Other bands already signed on are Tahra Richardson's TNT, Steve Richmond's Wize Gize, the reggae group Solidarity and a Florida rock band named Intense.
When all of the guest artists have done their turns, Bolongo Bay's house steelpan ensemble, Band in the Sand, will close things out.
The Florida group is a part of the mix, Hollenbaugh said, because Pirate Radio had already been "looking at doing a joint promotion" with Iggies because the band was coming to St. Thomas to do a record promotion with the station. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, he called Doumeng "and said let's do something different. It went from being a couple of separate things to something that is steamrolling pretty rapidly."
Attractions for youngsters will include a water-dunk tank and face painting. "It's about 'Let's go to the beach, bring the kids, spend some money and do some good,'" Doumeng said. He said the commemorative T-shirts feature "a big American flag."
Putting together a variety of music was one way of "trying to get a good cross section of the entire island to come out," Doumeng said.
Product donations are coming from Bellows International, Quality Foods and Coca-Cola Bottling of the V.I., Hollenbaugh said. And the Offshore Bar and Cyber Cafe and the Green House will be running additional bars on the beach, again with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Seaborne Airlines is flying the visiting band from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas.
That's all great, Hollenbaugh said, but what makes it even better is that "nobody is asking for credit. Nobody said 'Put up my banner' or 'Do this to promote us.' Their attitude is that 'We just want to help you guys be able to generate the funds for this cause.'"
Anyone wanting to volunteer or contribute to Sunday's effort can reach Hollenbaugh by calling 774-1972 or e-mailing to [email protected]. Or call Doumeng at 775-1800 or Yvonne Vinacola at the St. Thomas-St. John chapter of the American Red Cross at 774-0375.


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