When Jay Miller sold his chain of music instrument stores some 10 years ago, he knew he wanted to transition into the philanthropic world.
It was his wife’s idea to host a live radio show to raise money through the Shared Visions Foundation, their organization that helps non-profits in the Triangle area.
Be part of the fundraiser
When: Saturday, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Location: Murphey School, 3717 Murphey School Rd, Durham
More info: www.murpheyschoolradio.net
That was in 2011. Now, the “Murphey School Radio Show” happens twice a year, raising more than $10,000 each time to be split between two nonprofits, one from Orange County and one from Durham County.
Saturday’s show will benefit Meals on Wheels of Durham and Chapel Hill’s Farmer Foodshare.
The show features singers of various genres, as well as skits and jingles, performed in the same vein as radio shows like The “Grand Ole Opry” or “A Prairie Home Companion”, Miller said. This event’s performers include novelist Wilton Barnhardt, blues keyboardist and songwriter Ironing Board Sam and Jane Peppler and Ken Bloom of Mappamundi.
Miller said his original idea was to start a foundation that would help build the organizational capacity of non-profits, as well as provide them with retreat services.
“I was fortunate enough to be successful in my business and really wanted to give back to my community,” he said.
Miller saw the run-down, historic Murphey School in Durham and decided to renovate it for this purpose.
“My wife had the idea for this radio show as a fundraiser to raise money in a fun way, and then the first show was so successful, we thought we ought to continue,” he said.
Last fall, Meals on Wheels of Durham received an email from the organization asking if they wanted to be a beneficiary, director Gale Adland said.
“It’s gratifying to see so many people come together to support local non-profits,” Adland said.
Miller said Shared Visions usually funds organizations that support mental health and basic human services. Meals on Wheels’ mission is to provide healthy food to the elderly, disabled, convalescing and others who cannot provide for themselves.
Sponsors for the show include Daston Communications, CT Wilson Construction and Indy Weekly. During the show, performers will sing humorous jingles for and about the sponsors.
Gospel and traditional singer Jennifer Evans has been performing in “Murphey School Radio Shows” since they started. For this event, she will perform “My Funny Valentine” and a jazzed up version of “Fly Me to the Moon”, she said.
She has known Peter Kramer, an event volunteer, for more than six years. Kramer heard her singing on WCHL and came to a play she opened for to meet her. He later got her involved with the radio show.
Evans said she felt the show is an excellent opportunity to get to sing and give back to her community, as well as meet other local artists whom she may not otherwise. She said the fact that the show brings together so many different kinds of people is what makes it unique and fun to watch.
“I want audience members to leave with an experience of unique joy, wanting not only to come to the next show but to tell someone else about it, too,” she said.
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