Sunday, July 15, 2007

From the mailbag...

Psachya forwards an email from Lee Finkelstein about drummer Matt Miller's situation and writes:
Aside from being one of the finest drummers I've ever worked with, Matt is one of the finest, funniest, most decent people I know. My heart aches whenever I think of what happened to him & his family. Anything you can do to spread the word would be great.
I'd already received the email and am posting it below. I've removed the PayPal information as a spamguard. If you'd like to send some money that way, email me and I'll forward the address.

Here's Lee's email:

[FYI: Matt's real last name is Milmerstadt, Francesca is his wife.]
Hello friends, family and colleagues, 
Most of us are fortunate enough to have immediate family that can
help us when we need a little help.  In addition to them, we all like
to think of ourselves as a big family, an extended family.  Some of us
have friendships that go back more than 20 years. We see each other
more often and spent more "quality time" with each other than with our
own extended family. 
Now one of our family members needs help.  Someone who's not so
fortunate and does not have immediate family to help at a time of

It's time to put our money where our hearts are. It's time to adopt
the Milmerstadts. (aka Miller) 

As you may or may not know, our friend and colleague, drummer Matt
Miller, has Lymphoma which has kept him from working for the last year
and a half.  He and his family are in financial crisis and need our immediate help. 
Sadly, they are in the process of selling the house they love. We are
trying to raise money for them to help pay their current mortgage until
they sell and move into a new smaller more manageable space. Cessi is
changing her teaching job to part time so she can take care of Matt and
their son Ben. They also need money to cover additional health costs
like hotels in the city so they don't have to drive back and forth to
Sloane-Kettering for Matt's treatments everyday. It's been tough for
Matt and Cessi. ANYTHING we can do to relieve some of the stress at a
time like this gives them more time and focus to spend as a family
with their son and to focus on getting better. 
Some of Matt's closest friends had a meeting last Wednesday
night to figure out how to help Matt and Cessi physically, spiritually
and financially. Happily, it was a great success. Our immediate
goal of paying their mortgage for the month was reached. We raised
$2100 on the spot. Teddy Kumpel went to their house at midnight and dropped the
money off. They were overwhelmed with gratitude and tears of joy. It
felt so great individually and collectively putting $200 each on the
table knowing that if any one of us was in trouble the same thing could
happen. It reinforced our feeling of being part of a great community of
musicians and friends. 
We set up our own "Adopt A Family" program where anyone can donate
money to them to help with bills IMMEDIATELY. At $20 a month (in
advance up front NOW) for a year = $240.00 We rounded it off to a $200
donation. If we can get 100 people that's $20,000.00!!!! AMAZING...
That would really help the Milmerstadts. 
Hurray for you for being part of this !!! 
First step... help immediately 
Checks, money orders, gift certificates, 
can be sent to: 
P O BOX 800 
Sea Cliff NY 
Use PayPal (they take 3% off the top)   
just click on send money   
TO [Ed: Email info removed for privacy concerns. Email me if you'd like to donate this way and I'll send you the address.]
Second step: 
A fundraiser event featuring Funk Filharmonik and other well known
bands and artists at Il Piatto in Oyster Bay, Long Island Drum Center
and other drum and gear companies, restaurants, retailers with raffles,
auctions, contests, etc... this needs major planning and is in the
works ... 
Thanks and spread the word to anyone you think might know Matt and
his family or is just a generous caring person. 
Peace & Love,
It'd be really nice if the JM community pulled together on this; especially Neginah, Matt's primary employer in this end of the business.

Jordan writes:
The comments about the volume bring to mind another peep:

The future deaf kid.

That's the kid whose parents leave him or her right in front of the bandstand while we play a dance set, and who look at us uncomprehendingly when we tell them to take them to a more safe place. This one isn't funny, though. It's tragic. And it's not just about the hearing loss. It's about spoiled young kids who get married and have kids before they are ready to assume the responsibilities those choices entail.
He also writes:
Avner Levy did not start NYC gigs until well into the eighties. Lenny Schwartz was around, but not in the Jewish field in the seventies. (He was the main Steven Scott Trumpet player.) Shlomo Haviv also did not start in this field until the eighties. I am not sure about Ari Pollack.

Marty Laskin, Joel Chernet, Pete Sokolow, and Mark Infield are all still around. I am not sure when Paul Gurevitch started doing this end of the business. Lenny Friedman and Mike Cohen were just getting started as the seventies ended.
Alyssa Neil writes:
I thought you and your readers might be interested in the following Jewish music podcast and video from the Nextbook “Acting Jewish” festival held at UCLA in April.

Musicians Jewlia Eisenberg and Frank London chat with writer Josh Kun about Jewish music, and perform live.

Please feel free to link to these, or pass them along.
Here's a fake album cover from a reader with too much free time.