Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Music and Ethics Make for Strong Brew Saturday

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Music and Ethics Make for Strong Brew Saturday

Article excerpt

Two things the world is unlikely to run out of: (1) Causes to raise money for, and (2) Musicians to raise it.

That's why Teaneck's 50-year-old Ethical Culture Society, in its periodic series of "Ethical Brew" fundraising concerts, lets the artists choose their own cause.

"A lot of musicians are very passionate people, and many have a cause that is close to their heart," says Beth Stein, who co- founded the coffeehouse series with her husband, Perry, in January 2013.

For instance: Mike Agranoff and Dan Pelletier, multi- instrumental acoustic folk musicians appearing Saturday, will be donating their proceeds to Heifer International, which provides farm animals and other kinds of help to poverty-stricken areas.

Nothing weighty or solemn about Saturday's show: Both Agranoff (a Boonton native) and Pelletier (of Croton, N.Y.) are consummate entertainers who have logged many years on the road. Agranoff in particular, a storyteller as well as a musician whose repertoire ranges from Tin Pan Alley to folk to original music, is known as a bit of a wag. "We kind of paired them together because they both have a strong storytelling component in their styles," Stein says.

But like folk musicians proverbially, from Woody Guthrie to Tom Paxton to the late Pete Seeger, they also have a social conscience. And the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County is the perfect place to bring it to.

"We decided that by giving the option to select their own charity, it makes it better for the performer," Stein says. "They're more engaged."

Other organizations helped by the Ethical Brew Coffeehouse, in their more-or-less monthly series, include the Frankford Friends School in Philadelphia (Quaker education), the Edeyo Foundation (help for Haitian schoolchildren), the Bergen County Sanctuary Committee (assistance for political refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.) and WhyHunger (self-explanatory). Among the "name" performers who have percolated at Ethical Brew over the last year: Vance Gilbert, Jen Chapin, Tom and Sandy Doyle, Carsie Blanton. …

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