MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - New York City-based performer Ron Gartner watched the news as Hurricane Sandy left behind broken homes and broken lives along the East Coast.

His own home in Manhattan was untouched, but as he saw how it affected others he wondered, "What can I do?"

During a conversation with Wildwood Crest resident Kay Aspell, he found an answer.

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"I didn't know what to do and timing everything really. Then I talked to her," Gartner said.

Gardner knew Aspell from his work as a talent agent promoting acts that came to the Middle Township Performing Arts Center where Aspell is the director.

"He said how about a free concert," Gartner recalled of the conversation.

Gartner, who sings a mix of songs from the time of the rat pack, American Bandstand and Motown in what he called a "fast moving, Vegas-style show," will perform for free and 100 percent of tickets sales will go to help Cape May County residents affected by Sandy.

"I would like to keep the money in the county," Aspell said, adding that the people who attend shows at the Performing Arts Center are primarily county residents.

Aspell said audience members will be asked for a $10 donation and if every seat is filled the total collected would be nearly $10,000.

She plans to send it to the American Red Cross and ask that the money be earmarked for people living in her home county in places hardest hit such as Cook's Beach in Middle Township and Ocean City.

Gartner said he's happy to help the county as it and the rest of the region as those hit hardest try to recover.

"We're going to lift spirits and give to the people that can use it whatever we're going to raise.

IF YOU GO: The Middle Township Performing Arts Center will host a Hurricane Sandy benefit titled Scotch, Soul & Rock 'n' Roll starting at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. A donation of $10 is requested.

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