ELIZABETH, NJ - The sounds of different genres of music are as loud as ever this summer, even as most listen to music at home instead of a concert hall. Everyone with an internet connection is invited to listen in together for a week-long virtual concert benefiting Community Access Unlimited from July 6-11.
“It will be a week of nights of music that we hope everyone will get entertainment out of while we are stuck at home, with the added good cause of raising money for CAU,” said Saranya Thana, fundraising and events director at CAU. “Our artists all have different vibes to their music to cater to everyone’s tastes.”
CAU is a statewide nonprofit that strives to integrate people with disabilities and youth at risk into the general community through comprehensive supports.
From folk-country singer Jesse Lynn Madera and alternative pop singer Sara Ontaneda to handpan artist Dan Mulqueen and jazz guitarist Juan Mungia, a diverse selection of music will be showcased on the CAU Facebook page starting at 7 p.m. each night. Singer Chrissie Limos and electronic artist Matt Pelosi round out the lineup to offer variety for everyone listening.
Those who tune in are encouraged to donate what they can to CAU to support the agency’s ongoing essential services. From support coordination to behavioral services, the agency has built out remote operations wherever possible and invested in personal protective equipment for staff and members. Essential staff who work directly with people with disabilities and youth at risk continue to support members daily. CAU operates 60 community-based programs housing 350 members, all operating in quarantine for COVID-19, and serves another 700 individuals and families in the community. Donations will buoy activities and supports for continued progress and wellness as CAU members adjust to evolving phases of “the new normal.”
Madera, who lives in Nashville, said she was happy to donate her talent for the benefit concert and hopes listeners find her music hopeful.
“I really love to perform live and I’m not sure how it will translate over the internet, but I really enjoy connecting with people and I hope my music brings some hope to people and some strength when they’re confronting big emotions,” she said. “I like to write about things that are kind of difficult.”
New York City-based jazz guitarist Juan Mungia added that he was eager to share his music with new people online.
“I hope people can enjoy the music and forget the whole situation of the world for a while,” he said. “For me that's the whole idea of being an artist is to be able to give people an outlet to have a good time. For me I just like to see people happy.”
New York City-based Sara Ontaneda sings in both English and Spanish with a fusion of pop influences. She said she hopes her music will bring listeners peace during these difficult times.
“I’m more than happy to share my music for a great cause,” Ontaneda said. “I believe that everyone should have equal opportunities to live their best life. I really like what CAU stands for and I believe in the work they do.”