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Hundreds Of Musicians Respond To Austin's Call To Play For Evacuees

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez
Legend Nash plays a toy xylophone at the Delco Center, which is being used as a shelter for Harvey evacuees. At right is his brother Lucas.

The city says more than 200 musicians have volunteered to play for evacuees at Austin shelters.

The Austin Music Office put out the call on social media yesterday. Since then, it has been overwhelmed with responses.

“We received an insane amount of feedback,” says Stephanie Bergara, the audience development program coordinator at the city’s Music and Entertainment Division. “I think we’re all kind of of the mindset that music heals. We know that. So these musicians are rising to the challenge and making themselves available to provide those relief efforts.”

Bergara says musicians will play during mealtimes at the shelter at LBJ High School starting tonight at 5:30. She’s arranging for music at other shelters, too.

The city is no longer accepting inquiries from musicians, but it is considering planning benefit concerts in the coming weeks. Bergara says the Red Cross doesn’t know how long it will need this kind of support, but the Music Office will be there as long as it's needed.

It’s not just musicians who want to come to the shelters to help evacuees stave off boredom.

“We’ve got board game groups who are reaching out to see if they can bring board games to the kiddos who are in there," Bergara says. "We’ve got children’s musicians, people who want to bring aromatherapy kits, people who want to bring cupcakes, people who want to bring therapy dogs."

She says people with resources are just trying to find a way to help.

“We all want to jump on board and provide what we can to combat boredom, combat people just going stir-crazy. These are people who’ve lost everything,” Bergara says. “Whatever we can do to make things easier for them – even if it’s just something as simple as providing a song or two — I think that’s helpful.”

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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