“Building Bridges” concert in Woodstock to aid storm-stranded musicians

Reggie and Kim Harris.

People like to find ways to contribute – ways that flow out of their lives to assist others in need. When some associates in the music world lost their bridge in last year’s hurricane, Betty Boomer and her friends wanted to do something to help.

“Kim and Reggie Harris and Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino are friends of mine; I admire their musical ability,” Boomer explained. “And I decided, when I heard about their plight, that I could do something about it. Greg and Terry were home when the storm came through, and a neighbor came by and said, ‘Move your car across the bridge!’” The couple watched a little stream turn into a raging torrent that washed out their culvert-style bridge, which also gave the Harrises access to their home. Boomer reports that the state came around and put in a new bridge, but that one washed away in the following deluge.

Artzner and Leonino, who perform as Magpie, and the Harris duo work to educate young people and bridge communication gaps among students and people of diverse backgrounds. Singing in schools around the country, they often donate their time and talent to other worthy causes. Boomer, also a performer with her group Betty and the Baby Boomers (with Jean Valla McAvoy, Paul Rubeo, Steve Stanne and Robert Bard), has had the pleasure of being onstage with both couples, and figures that they have an accumulation of about 100 years of experience amongst them. They all met on the sloop Clearwater’s Pumpkin Sail. “They sing in schools about peace and justice – joyful, environmental music,” says Boomer. “I also do children’s programs, and I’ve used their great ecology songs for years.”

The two couples bore the expense of having an abutment bridge installed, so they could get fuel into their homes for the winter. Now, the abutments need additional cages of stone to secure them, and possible damage undermining the banks that lead to their homes may require immediate attention – all amounting to another big hit to their resources. Boomer’s idea is to hold a concert to raise funds for this continued work. To be guest-hosted by WAMC’s Wanda Fischer, “Building Bridges” will be held on Sunday, May 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation on Glasco Turnpike. The evening of song will include Boomer’s group, Kim and Reggie Harris and Magpie, along with rabbi Jonathan Kligler. A donation of $20 per person will help defray the cost of rebuilding a bridge, with kids 12 and under getting in free. Call Boomer at (845) 300-0010 for further information.


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