Local musicians congregate for a day of service

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Some of Provo’s most well-known musicians combined efforts and volunteered at the Community Action Services and Food Bank on Nov. 7.

The food bank was brimming with artists creating a unique concoction of service and talent. Some of the bands helping out included VanLadyLove, Joshua James, Shrink the Giant and The Strike. The service event was arranged by Aimee Vargas, talent coordinator for the show Backstage Avenue, who thought it would be the perfect time for such an event with the holidays coming up.

Sam Williams
Chris Kelly, of The Str!ke, catches a can; he and other Provo musicians tap into their creativity and form assembly lines while volunteering at community food bank. (Sam Williams)

“This isn’t an association of people or anything,” said Food Bank Communications Director Chris Severinsen. “It’s just a bunch of artists who decided they wanted to give back.”

Whether it was sorting canned food, assembling boxes for transportation or sweeping the floors of the building, these musicians found a way to contribute. They even put their creative talent to use, forming assembling lines and infusing the work with laughter.

“We are having fun and getting a little goofy,” said VanLadyLove’s bass player, Steele Saldutti. “We are throwing cans, things might get crazy, someone might get hit. But the important thing is that people are going to have canned food, and it’s going to be properly sorted.”

This a time for musicians to give back and also to enjoy the company of other artists. Joshua James even brought his son and wife along with him, hoping to instill the values of service in his 18-month-old boy.

“We are all doing this mindless task, and we can talk about things other than music, which is for the most part what I talk about or do, so it’s nice to do something different,” James said.

Unique from the typical church groups or court-ordered citizens who give service at the food bank, these artists brought a high energy and excitement with them to give back to the community, Severinsen said.

“We are arranging these peaches like we would a song,” Saldutti said. “There’s a little bit of chaos, but in the end it all works out … hopefully.”

But although musicians came to help out with their bands, the purpose of their service was not publicity.

“I would like to think that I didn’t come to promote the band,” said The Strike’s lead vocalist, Chris Kelly.

For most of the artists, it was a chance to give back to the community that has served their music careers and given them a chance for success.

“We have been given so much as musicians, and we live really good lives,” said lead singer of Shrink the Giant, Stefania Barr. “For people who don’t live such privileged lives, giving service to them is kind of a responsibility.”

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