This Wednesday, December 21, warm yourself at the hearth of homegrown music so that others can sleep through the night. Join friends Kirstin Candy-McFarland and Billy Mandarino of Le Reve Nouveau, Jesse Rhodes, Cory Sipper, George Friedenthal, and Shaun Oster as they sing at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) to stoke the warm atmospheres of the Freedom Warming Centers of Santa Barbara, where those who cannot find a place to sleep at night can find shelter during these colder winter nights.
Funds from the evening’s event will help provide beds and supplies at the warming centers, provided as a last-resort refuge for the unsheltered homeless, open to all regardless of condition. Christened after a homeless man named Freedom who passed away in downtown S.B. in 2009, the warming centers help provide thousands of beds across South and North County. Warming centers can be found at First United Methodist Church in S.B., University United Methodist Church in I.V., the Veterans’ Memorial Building in Carpinteria, Peace Lutheran Church in Lompoc, and the Salvation Army in Santa Maria.
The night’s musical offerings will be a mix of Christmas carols and stripped-down acoustic arrangements. Kids can attend the show for free, and if you reserve a dinner table for eight or more, your reservation can help raise bonus funds for the cause thanks to Village Properties, who will add $100 per table reserved to the total donation. “It’s a very easy, communal, and fun way to give. I think there is always more excitement around a benefit concert because the audience and the performers are bonded together in giving to something outside themselves,” Sipper said. “We’re all one being — just different versions of it,” Rhodes said, and banding together as a community allows us to be “part of something bigger than yourself.”
The benefit concert has become a holiday tradition for the night’s performers, who have hosted winter fundraising shows for the last three years. “We like to be of service,” Candy-McFarland said, having played at a warming center one rainy night around last year’s Thanksgiving. “It’s about gratitude, to be grateful for the things that I have … and to be able to use my gifts to bring about goodness for others.” “It’s something we’re all called to do — to shine light on love, giving, and inspiration through music,” Mandarino said.
Guests are invited to bring extra socks, coats, and other clothes to the concert.
Attendees can expect some new musical gifts along with the usual holiday favorites. Rhodes, who this year penned the music for the Channel Islands documentary West of the West, is in the midst of composing new works, and Sipper will unveil some new songs along with the vocal talents of her 8- and 10-year-old daughters, who will sing carols onstage with her. Mandarino, meanwhile, is finishing up his book, The Nowist, about the power of embracing the present moment, and its spiritual themes suffuse his lyrics.
When some have to decide upon a sleeping location at a moment’s notice, there is no better time than the present to embrace the spirit of giving. Head to SOhO, help others, and have fun doing so. See sohosb.com.