Musicians on a Mission, a local nonprofit organization, had two of its local bands performing at the Monmouth County Fair on July 27. The organization, which was founded in 2010, was conceived with the goal of using the power of music to create connection and inspire giving.
Brenda Wirth, who is on the Board of Directors and serves as the treasurer of Musicians on a Mission, was at the fair with those bands to try and spread the word of what the organization is all about.
“We put on musical events using local musicians at local venues and we raise money for small local charities,” Wirth said.
Musicians on a Mission is currently working with more than 30 local charities, according to its website. The organization is always open to adding more charities to that list.
“We want to let people know what we do,” Wirth said. “If you have a charity that you know something about, and it might be a little something that helps children or veterans or something, but you came to us and said you think this would be a good fit for us, we might be able to put on a little show at a local church or a local venue and then we charge admission, the musicians play for free, and we donate all of that money to that charity. It’s like everybody wins.”
The musicians come from various places. All of the bands look to get more exposure and they can do that by working with Musicians on a Mission.
“It’s great because the musicians get to play in front of larger audiences than they would normally where a lot of local musicians play,” Wirth said. “Some of these bands were playing in local coffee houses and they get the chance to have a larger audience. We provide a place for the musicians to play and it’s them giving back to the community. We were trying to figure out a way for musicians to give back and this does it. Our musicians are very generous.”
Elaine Orzechowski was at the Monmouth County Fair on July 27 to play the first of two sets with her band, The Cimarron Sky Band. Orzechowski has been involved with Musicians on a Mission for several years.
“I lived in Asbury Park, and a lot of the Asbury Park musicians were the core base of Musicians on a Mission,” Orzechowski said. “I played at some of their open mics and then I branched out and have my own band now. We still play some of the events and try to keep a hand in it. It’s a great organization and they do a lot for local organizations and charities.”
Orzechowski, who has been playing in bands since she graduated from high school, plays guitar, mandolin, keyboards and flute.
The Cimarron Sky Band plays bluegrass and country.
“We do a little bit of each,” she said. “We play a lot of shows each year dedicated to the classic ladies of country music. We did a whole series at the Ocean County Library for Women’s History Month and we do that every year, we have a lot of fun doing it.”
The second band representing Musicians on a Mission at the county fair was Michael Patrick and the Suburban Hillbillies.
“We do a lot of country rock,” Patrick said. “We do a lot of covers, we used to do a lot of originals, but we like to get paid. We’re just happy to be here. It’s a nice event and I’m happy to be out playing on a nice Friday night.”
Patrick has been involved with Musicians on a Mission since almost the very beginning. After meeting Jenny Woods, the co-founder, when she was selling guitar string-based jewelry, the two of them clicked. Patrick has been involved with Musicians on a Mission ever since.
“Over the years, but not as much as I like to because we play all over the tri-state area, we try to get involved as much as we can,” he said.