State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

'Music of Woodstock' Concert to Benefit ACRES Project

by on June 11, 2019 5:00 AM

Seven local bands will take a State Theatre audience on a trip back to Yasgur's Farm and the summer of 1969 with a special concert this weekend to benefit an area nonprofit .

ACRES of Music: The Music of Woodstock will have bands playing songs from the legendary music festival at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Proceeds will benefit the ACRES Project. Founded in 2014 ACRES (Adults Creating Residential & Employment Solutions), is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with autism, with a particular focus on serving adults over the age of 21.

Bella Bregar, ACRES executive director, said the concert was the idea of musicians Liz Grove and James Miller, who are co-producing the show and performing with their band Cone of Silence.

"They were talking to our board of directors president, Molly Kunkel, and said 'Wouldn’t it be cool to do something for Woodstock since it’s the 50th anniversary?'" Bregar said. "They decided they’d like to do something and that ACRES would be the nonprofit they’d like to highlight... This was a complete surprise to us. It was very heartfelt."

Joining Cone of Silence will be Spider Kelly, Jackie Brown and The Skoal Brothers, Eric Ian Farmer, Sam Christensen, Anchor & Arrow and Hops & Vines.

"It’s a perfect fit, bringing the musical memories of Woodstock’s iconic weekend 50 years ago, to our local community, who will join together for a night of live music, peace, love and diversity," Martin said in a news release.

Concertgoers can purchase a reserved seating ticket, or a VIP package, which includes a concert ticket and admission to a pre-concert reception, catered by Harrison's, starting at 5 p.m. at 3 Dots Downtown, the new community art and innovation center at 137 E. Beaver Ave. 

Attendees at the reception will be able to talk with ACRES board members and adults who participate in ACRES programs.

"A lot of our adults with autism will be there to talk to some of our sponsors, to share how ACRES has benefited them and how the music community in State College is pulling together to help nonprofits and be a partner with the ACRES project," Bregar said.

At the State Theatre, handcrafted soaps, artwork, wood pendants and jewelry created by adults with autism will be on display and for sale in the lobby. Bracelets made by members of ACRES day program will be given out, and during the concert information about ACRES will be presented, including brief video interviews with individuals who have benefited from its programs in the community.

Bregar said that Grove and Martin have put a lot of work into organizing the show, getting the bands together and practicing. They and other musicians have also spent time at ACRES getting to know the programs and people who participate in them.

"They’ve spent time over here learning what we do," Bregar said. "One of our adults does all of our graphic artwork and she is on the spectrum. She has worked very closely with Liz and has designed a program and posters."

ACRES started five years ago as a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting adults with autism in Centre County, but at the time did not have a permanent home. That changed in 2017 when it moved into a 3,000-square-foot home surrounded by 2 acres of land in rural Patton Township.

After starting with one person in an adult support group and two people in a day program, it has grown significantly, offering workplace readiness training, independent living skills, social gatherings and a parents support group. In addition to adult social and day programs with more participants, it also has opportunities such as a weekly cooking class, creative Sundays, job support programs, a women's book club, a "Get Your Move On" program for children in third through fifth grade, and starting this summer, biweekly groups for boys and girls in middle school.

"We’ve grown from one program to several programs trying to meet the needs of what our community needs," Bregar said. "We’re excited."

That growth has been helped along by community support and private giving, and "ACRES of Music," provides a new opportunity to aid programs for individuals with autism. Bregar said there has been a great response, with about $12,000 raised through a sponsorship program, funds that will be matched by the Morgan Family Foundation.

And anyone who is looking to enjoy a great night of classic rock while helping a great cause can still get a ticket for the concert or reception and concert.

"Come on out. There are still tickets available so we would love to be able to be sold out by Friday night," Bregar said. "I think you’ll have a good time. The bands are great. The music that they’ve chosen is spectacular."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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