RED BANK – In the months that followed Super Storm Sandy, the Count Basie Theatre quickly became the hub for fundraising concerts and events.
Charities, local and national musicians, and television celebrities reached out to the Basie and creative endeavors began. Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson spearheaded the plan to fill the calendar with not only Count Basie Theatre presented shows or rentals, but also with outside organizations needing a space that could accommodate the public. The results have yielded substantial donations for the relief efforts in the Monmouth County area.
“Our vision was to become an active agent of change and support during one of the worst national disasters” Philipson said. “We opened our doors and hearts to the families that were suffering and were grateful to have had so many artists willing to participate with us.”
Of the many concerts that took place over the past three months, Count Basie Theatre presented or co-presented events generated funding toward Sandy relief from combined donations through Count Basie Theatre Raffle ticket sales, the Grace Potter & The Nocturnals performance, a private donation from the Feaster Family and Swing’ and Singin’ for Sandy Relief featuring The Manhattan Transfer.
Other events that took place at Count Basie Theatre included An Evening with Brian Williams and Jon Stewart (both Williams and Stewart matched the funds raised from ticket sales); Hope for the Highlands and Santa for Seabright (Brian Kirk and the Jirks).
A total of $415,782 was raised and allocated to: Lunch Break; Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties; VNA; Salvation Army New Jersey Division; St. Rose High School Music Department; and Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy for bussing displaced students to the theater to see special performances as part of the Basie’s Outreach Program.
Response from the recipients has been overwhelming and the staff at the Count Basie Theatre are happy to have helped facilitate the process.
“The Board is very honored with this kind gift in recognition of the efforts of the staff and volunteers in the days following the storm to continue the vital services to our community that defines our mission,” said Bonnie Featherstone-Johnson, Lunch Break board of trustees. “We are indeed humbled.”
Organizations like the Salvation Army provided 214,488 meals and 7,381 blankets. Rosemary Calderalo of the Salvation Army New Jersey Division said, “Thank you so much. We are very moved by the Count Basie Theatre’s support. You are a great community partner.”