Communities up and down the shore are still in recuperation mode after Hurricane Sandy.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine is recovering. With punctured tents and plumbing issues, co-director Sheila Dean worries the center won't be able to accommodate the animals that are bound to come in.
But Smithville resident Jerry Ryan couldn't bear to watch this happen - and over three nights, he plans to use music to bring the center hope.
With the help and cooperation of Dawnie Oliver of Little House Booking and Le Grand Fromage owner Mike Messina, Ryan used the days following the storm to schedule 75 to 100 bands to play the Atlantic City venue Nov. 16-18. Ryan named it the Re-Do AC Benefit Show, and every ticket sale will benefit the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, as well as the Ocean City Repertory Theater.
"There are all these little things that we have to do to get the center up and running and able to take in the animals we anticipate having all winter," said Dean, who helps run the center with her husband, Bob Schoelkopf, of Galloway Township.
"This is going to give us money to start to pull us through seal season," Dean continued. "That is our biggest concern, having enough money to take care of these animals. We have no idea from year to year how many animals we will have. Last year, we had 18 altogether, but the year before we had over 100 animals. You just never know."
Dean explained that funds were going to come from the 15th annual Harbor Seal Run, scheduled for Nov. 3 in Seaside Heights, but it was canceled due to the storm, leaving the center to pay for the run's T-shirts.
Ryan, the man behind Elephant Talk-Indie Music Magazine, said he has used his passion for music for good, helping to discover local musical acts while hosting a handful of charity shows, such as his Elephants for Autism music festivals.
"I really enjoy helping people and using my connections through music to make a difference in the world," Ryan said.
Messina, who has booked shows with Ryan for about four years, had water damage to his business as well, but realized that many, including the Stranding Center, have much larger issues to worry about.
"We know there are people who need more help than us," the owner of Le Grand Fromage said. Messina hosted a similar benefit show recently that gave aid directly to the Red Cross.
This show will feature The Mahlors, Deardarkhead and DJ Kids These Days with Frank Chase of Easy Does It, as well as other acts.
Ryan said he felt honored to be able to join these acts together. He plans similar benefits for out-of-state bands that couldn't travel to the Atlantic City area - a Philadelphia stop Dec. 8 and another in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 22.
"I do reach out to many bands, and some reach out to me. This one is a little different. It just seems everyone wants to be involved and do their part in rebuilding this community," Ryan said. "If I was to die tomorrow, I would die happy knowing that I was part of something so beautiful and contagious."
Contact Caitlin Honan:
If you go:
Re-Do AC Benefit Show
4 p.m. Nov. 16, noon Nov. 17-18
Le Grand Fromage, 25 Gordon's Alley, Atlantic City
$10, benefits Brigantine Marine Mammal Stranding Center and Ocean City Repertory Theater