Jerry Garcia tribute album will benefit Camden schools
Friday, June 17, 2005
By CHUCK DARROW
Bob Makin recalls the exact moment he was moved to do something for the children of Camden. "I was stuck in a traffic jam on Mickle Boulevard, going to see one of the new incarnations of The Dead (at the Tweeter Center)," recalls Makin, 40, who spearheaded the just-released CD, Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares: A Charitable Tribute To Jerry Garcia. "I looked to my right and saw the Camden County (Jail). Then I looked to my left and saw this obviously impoverished kid. He was barefoot and malnourished-looking. He must have been 7, 8, 9 years old, and he looked right at me with so much anger in his eyes. "And I look at the jail again and think, `What does he have to lose?' Then I thought, `The Grateful Dead will help us help this kid in some way.' "
Makin, who is the entertainment editor of the Courier-News of Bridgewater, which, like the Courier-Post, is published by Gannett Co. Inc., wasn't just indulging in an altruistic fantasy. He actually had the mechanism in place to get the wheels turning. In 2002, he helped found Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares, a fiduciary fund of the Bergen County United Way which, through CD sales and concerts, raised thousands of dollars for afterschool musical mentoring programs for New Jersey children who lost parents in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. "I went to the Bergen County United Way and asked if they wanted to keep it going," he says. "They said, `Keep it going.' That's where the Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares CD came in." The three-disc set, released on June 3, features a number of musicians performing songs written by Garcia, the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist who died in August 1995.
Among those contributing are singer-songwriter David Gans, bluegrass stalwart David Grisman, a longtime Garcia collaborator, and the Dark Star Orchestra, one of the nation's top Grateful Dead tribute bands. Makin's goal is to raise enough money through sales of the CD and live events to enable the school districts in Camden and Garfield to receive $10,000 for the same kind of programs created for the 9/11 kids.
Annette D. Knox, superintendent of schools in Camden, says the district looks forward to receiving the donation. "The Camden City public school district proudly accepts the opportunity to receive this honor from the Jersey Jams fund," Knox says. "Upon board approval, we will be happy to accept the funds to use toward enhancing our music programs. We look forward to learning more about this program and the opportunities it will afford us." Makin is hoping to have the funds distributed through Little Kids Rock, a Montclair-based non-profit organization that creates music-education programs. But, he says, if that doesn't work out, the money will nonetheless get to its intended recipient. "One way or another, the Camden school district is going to get $10,000," he pledges. "One way or another, we're going to make an impact on the Camden school district."
TO ORDER THE CD
To order a copy of `Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares: A Charitable Tribute To Jerry Garcia,' send a $20 check or money order to the Bergen County United Way (with Jersey Jams Fund in the memo).
The address is: Jersey Jams Fund, 33 Aberdeen Road, No. 355A, Matawan, NJ 07747.
For more on the CD and a schedule of upcoming concerts, go to www.jerseyjamsfund.com/press.html.
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