SOMERS, N.Y.--Lawn chairs and beach blankets littered the lawn in front of the bandstand at the Lasdon Park Arboretum all afternoon on Saturday, Sept. 16. Music lovers from around the area had journeyed to Katonah to hear a mix of bluegrass, rock, folk, jazz and native South American music played for a good cause. A hastily organized concert, Westchester for Texas, benefiting those suffering in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, was in full swing.
“We were all affected by what we saw on TV,” said Ted Kozlowski. He is the manager of Lasdon Park Arboretum and Veterans Memorial, and the coordinator of natural resource management for Westchester County. “The county is really blessed with a very considerate staff here. We talked about it, and thought, ‘Why don’t we put something together?’ “
But if the benefit concert was going to be of any real benefit, Kozlowski’s team needed to act quickly.
“We knew the urgency of it: We are running out of natural daylight, and it’s in the news, it’s fresh in everybody’s mind,” he said. “We went to my commissioner (Kathleen O’Connor) and the county executive (Rob Astorino) and they wholeheartedly said ‘yes.’”
Westchester for Texas chose Team Rubicon as the beneficiary of their charity. It’s a disaster-relief team crewed by veterans and first-responders, and was founded in the wake of the 2010 hurricane that leveled Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
“We chose Team Rubicon because they are veterans, and this park has an association with veterans, part of the park is dedicated to veterans, we have a veterans’ museum here,” Kozlowski explained. “So we thought it was a nice fit.”
One hundred percent of the funds collected at the Lasdon Park concert will be disbursed to Team Rubicon and the SPCA. Kozlowski said they are allocating some of the concert’s proceeds to the animal welfare agencies because he saw so many tragic stories about lost pets in the aftermaths of both storms.
The Lasdon Park Arboretum has been running concerts for years, and Kozlowski’s Rolodex is deep with the names of performers who were more than willing to give back. Entertainers on Saturday included Gary Adamson, Merle Williams, Gerard Corelli and headliners Andes Manta. The Dutchess County-based Ecuadorian group performed with a team of dancers.
Brewster-based caterer Ledley Food Service donated food for the workers and performers. New Somers restaurant Mex-To-Go II provided a food concession for the concert-goers and donated a portion of their proceeds to the charity, as well.