Why Music for Food?
By Robert Cinnante
For some, music is purely entertainment, for others, comfort, and, in some cases, an intellectual experience. Depending on perception and taste it may embody all three, or other attributes not noted. But when you connect with Music for Food, you become part of a process: audience and artists intertwined in the joining of music and civic engagement. You have been presented with a societal issue — hunger — and have responded with art.
When someone asks the question, “Why Music for Food?,” I want to simply reply, “Why not?” When they say, “Why support Music for Food?,” I’m bound to answer, “How could you not?” The effect of a Music for Food concert should speak for itself, upheld by the culminating and continuously growing figure of the more than 80,000 meals that we have provided to date through partnerships with local hunger relief organizations. But for some, that’s not enough. Some ask, “Why not just donate directly to a food pantry?”
Before reacting to the aforementioned question, I offer the disclaimer that I would never in any way want to discourage a person’s desire to donate to a food pantry. By all means, give and give generously. But when presented with an opportunity to support Music for Food, consider the implications. Sending a check directly to a food bank or clicking “Donate Now” is a singular action. Music for Food expands that action to create an infinite web that links all those involved. Audiences enable artists with a platform for social responsibility through music, thus raising awareness. In exchange for their musical offering, audiences donate to a designated pantry. The actions of both provide a service to the pantry, which in turn brings aid to those in need. Yet the process continues long after the final note of the evening has been sounded and the last dollar or can of food counted. Artists and audiences alike leave the concert hall knowing that they have made a difference. But it’s more than a good feeling: those who truly understand the impact of their participation are inspired to become advocates, spreading the word to colleagues and friends, some even establishing Music for Food projects in their own neighborhoods. Conservatory students who perform alongside faculty and internationally acclaimed artists share what they have learned through Music for Food educational programs, instilling in high school and middle school students the concept of music as a means for change. Other young artists go directly to those in need and perform on outreach concerts at food pantries.
It’s a never-ending cycle that thrives on the support and participation of the people around it. It’s the epitome of giving that keeps on giving and giving that gives back. It takes more than writing a check to a food pantry. It’s an investment that builds a community amongst communities: Music for Food.