This Thursday night, Aug. 31, Baltimore-based singer-songwriter Sonia Rutstein was all set to travel to Kerrville, Texas, for the three-day Kerrville Fall Music Festival. But due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas last Friday night, Aug. 25, the annual festival, scheduled to run from Sept. 1-3, was cancelled.
“It was very disappointing,” said Rutstein, who was particularly looking forward to performing at Kerrville with her sister and disappear fear band co-founder, Seattle resident Cindy Frank, for a rare appearance.
“We were all excited, saying, ‘The band’s getting back together! It had been four years [since Frank performed with disappear fear],’” said Rutstein. “But then I thought, why not have a concert in Baltimore to raise hearts and money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey?”
This Sunday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m., the Relief Concert for Victims of Hurricane Harvey will be held at the Corner Community Center at 5802 Roland Ave, which is home to Rutstein’s synagogue, Congregation Beit Tikvah.
Almost single-handedly, Rutstein put the event together in a 24-hour period. Besides Rutstein and current disappear fear members Ezell Jones Jr. and Chris Sellman, local performers will include Tom Prasada-Rao, Seth Kibel, Sarah Pinsker, Georgie Jessup and Tony Correlli.
In addition, New York-based performer Tret Fure and Jack Wetherall will play at the concert.
Rutstein said she expects the list of performers to grow by concert time.
Meanwhile, she is encouraging fellow Kerrville artists to hold benefit concerts in their own cities and communities. She will likely perform at an upcoming Hurricane Harvey benefit concert in Dallas.
“I’m the only non-Texan on the bill,” said Rutstein, noting that she has a personal connection to the dire situation in Texas. “I have an Uncle Harvey who lives in Houston. He and my aunt are OK so far, but they’re getting so much more rain. “
With disappear fear, which was founded in 1987, Rutstein has recorded 17 award-winning CDs and performs all over the world.
She said she hopes the community will come together to support those impacted by the hurricane, particularly with upcoming High Holiday season.
“Harvey is happening now in Texas, but Baltimore could be next,” Rutstein said. “I’m hoping we can come together and raise money and hearts. This is a situation where we can make good on our good intentions. And Baltimore is great about that. I think we have that reputation. …
“In Judaism, it is our custom to actually come forward and perform our very best — to put our money where our mouth is,” she said. “Because this is when we have the opportunity to show the holy one we are worthy to be named in the Book of Life.”
Tickets to the Relief Concert for Victims of Hurricane Harvey can be purchased online at soniadisappearfear.com/shop. Suggested donations are $18 for adults over 21 and $10 for those under 21. Funds collected from ticket donations will be distributed through the Jewish Federation of North America and several other nonprofits. Fans can also hear Rutstein live on radio station WTMD 89.7 on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 9:30 a.m.
Top photo: SONiA by Lea Morales
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